00100:00:37Dialogue:“John Romulus Brinkley”

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Dialogue: “John Romulus Brinkley”

The name of the protagonist is not John Romulus Brinkley. Brinkley’s middle name was Richard.  He claimed to have been born John Romulus and said it was later changed to John Richard, either because a preacher said it was a heathen name or because his schoolmates made fun of him (he told different versions of …View Full Footnote

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The name of the protagonist is not John Romulus Brinkley. Brinkley's middle name was Richard.  He claimed to have been born John Romulus and said it was later changed to John Richard, either because a preacher said it was a heathen name or because his schoolmates made fun of him (he told different versions of this story).  Logic suggests he invented the Romulus story - given that he's named after his father, whose name was John Richard - but we decided to use Romulus exclusively in this film because (1) it's way more awesome, and (2) it underscores the fact that for whatever reason, Brinkley liked to identify himself with the mythical founder of Rome.
00200:00:51Image:Johns Hopkins University exterior

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Image: Johns Hopkins University exterior

Photograph of Johns Hopkins taken by Harvey Cushing circa 1900.View Full Footnote

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Photograph of Johns Hopkins taken by Harvey Cushing circa 1900.
00300:00:54Dialogue:“When he stood before the dean of Johns Hopkins”
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Dialogue: “When he stood before the dean of Johns Hopkins”

We can’t verify whether this scene at Johns Hopkins actually happened, but it was a constant feature of Brinkley’s origin story. The language being spoken by the narrator is taken almost verbatim from The Life of A Man, a biography commissioned and paid for by Brinkley (more on that book later). In 1902, Brinkley graduated …View Full Footnote We can't verify whether this scene at Johns Hopkins actually happened, but it was a constant feature of Brinkley's origin story. The language being spoken by the narrator is taken almost verbatim from The Life of A Man, a biography commissioned and paid for by Brinkley (more on that book later). In 1902, Brinkley graduated from high school and he would have been 17 years old on July 8, so it's feasible that he could have decided to try to enrol in medical school at that time. However, the whole scene feels rather improbable to us, and the "I tried to get legitimate medicine to accept me and they cruelly declined" is also a standard quack cliché.
00400:01:08Dialogue:“Like his daddy was”
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Dialogue: “Like his daddy was”

We can’t verify that Brinkley’s daddy was a doctor, but he always said he was. Brinkley cited his father’s profession as inspiration for his own. If he was a doctor at all, Brinkey’s daddy would have almost certainly been the sort of poor “country doctor” common in the 1800s.  At that time, being a doctor …View Full Footnote We can't verify that Brinkley's daddy was a doctor, but he always said he was. Brinkley cited his father's profession as inspiration for his own. If he was a doctor at all, Brinkey's daddy would have almost certainly been the sort of poor "country doctor" common in the 1800s.  At that time, being a doctor wasn't the distinguished profession it later became (largely due to the efforts of the American Medical Association).  On the other hand, sometimes Brinkley claimed his daddy had a medical degree from Davidson College in Charlotte.  As Lee wrote, "(t)his is highly unlikely, however, as attending college in the antebellum South was expensive and confined largely to the plantation and urban aristocracy who could afford it, not poor mountain folk."
00500:01:21Dialogue:“Brinkley had a diploma”
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Dialogue: “Brinkley had a diploma”

“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25). …View Full Footnote "On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as 'vague, obliging and long defunct') cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states" (Brock, 25). So: yes, he had this diploma (and a number of other diplomas and accreditations), but it doesn't mean what you might think it means. On a separate note, the narrator claims here that he received this diploma in 1917, and then married Minnie, and then moved to Milford all in the same year. This is not chronologically accurate; we're compressing these events (and leaving a lot out) for flow and clarity.
00600:01:23Image:Eclectic Medical University exterior (drawing)
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Image: Eclectic Medical University exterior (drawing)

This drawing is based on a photo of the Homeopathic Medical College of St. Louis taken in the early 1900s. We couldn’t find an image reference for the Eclectic Medical College of Kansas City, so we substituted this one instead. Same time period, different kind of quackery, and anyway this is clearly a “reenactment” scene, …View Full Footnote

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This drawing is based on a photo of the Homeopathic Medical College of St. Louis taken in the early 1900s. We couldn't find an image reference for the Eclectic Medical College of Kansas City, so we substituted this one instead. Same time period, different kind of quackery, and anyway this is clearly a "reenactment" scene, so all of this explanation is probably unnecessary? (From here on out, we are not going to comment on every act of "imagination" used in a reenactment scene; this one seemed kind of funny to us because of the inside joke comparing homeopathy to eclectic medicine.)
00700:01:26Dialogue:“He married a pretty young woman”

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Dialogue: “He married a pretty young woman”

All true (they married August 23, 1913), but actually this was his second marriage. His first marriage was to Sally Wike on January 27, 1907. According to Wood, Brinkley met Sally Wike at the funeral for his Aunt Sally. Since Aunt Sally died on December 25, 1906, that would make their courtship pretty brief: about …View Full Footnote All true (they married August 23, 1913), but actually this was his second marriage. His first marriage was to Sally Wike on January 27, 1907. According to Wood, Brinkley met Sally Wike at the funeral for his Aunt Sally. Since Aunt Sally died on December 25, 1906, that would make their courtship pretty brief: about one month. Again according to Wood, this marriage produced three daughters and ended when Sally left him. Incidentally, Minnie and John also married after an exceptionally brief courtship (four days).
00800:01:37Image:Wide shot of Milford

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Image: Wide shot of Milford

This drawing is based on a real photo, but it’s not a photo of Milford. It’s actually a photo of Lawrence, Kansas, in 1856. We could not locate any photos of Milford from the right period that had the right quality of desolation. (See also: note 23.)View Full Footnote

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This drawing is based on a real photo, but it's not a photo of Milford. It's actually a photo of Lawrence, Kansas, in 1856. We could not locate any photos of Milford from the right period that had the right quality of desolation. (See also: note 23.)
00900:1:44Dialogue:“An old soda fountain”

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Dialogue: “An old soda fountain”

Apparently, they came to Milford because of an ad saying that the town needed a new doctor. It would make sense that Brinkley’s “office” would be a kind of soda fountain / drugstore stocked with patent medicines. They rented it from the former doctor (now retired) for $7/month.View Full Footnote

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Apparently, they came to Milford because of an ad saying that the town needed a new doctor. It would make sense that Brinkley's "office" would be a kind of soda fountain / drugstore stocked with patent medicines. They rented it from the former doctor (now retired) for $7/month.
01000:01:51Image:[interjection at this point in the story]

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Image: [interjection at this point in the story]

Funny story. Before they came to Milford, the Brinkleys settled in Fulton, Kansas, where Brinkley was mayor (!?). This tidbit is often dropped into the story by sources as it’s no big deal and requires no further detail or explanation. We don’t know if it’s true.View Full Footnote

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Funny story. Before they came to Milford, the Brinkleys settled in Fulton, Kansas, where Brinkley was mayor (!?). This tidbit is often dropped into the story by sources as it's no big deal and requires no further detail or explanation. We don't know if it's true.
01100:01:58Dialogue:“A farmer named Stittsworth”
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Dialogue: “A farmer named Stittsworth”

This is the origin story of the goat gland procedure, as told by Brinkley and repeated ever since. Portions of this story and photos of Stittsworth and his son Billy appeared in newspapers all over the country as early as 1920. The Stittsworths also “starred” in and often appeared in person with a promotional film …View Full Footnote This is the origin story of the goat gland procedure, as told by Brinkley and repeated ever since. Portions of this story and photos of Stittsworth and his son Billy appeared in newspapers all over the country as early as 1920. The Stittsworths also "starred" in and often appeared in person with a promotional film made in 1922 or 1923. However, there are many reasons to not believe this version of the story. Here are some of them: (1) Bill Stittsworth's son said that he and his father were on Brinkley's payroll until 1942. This is strange, because Brinkley stopped doing the goat gland surgeries in 1933 and thus had no reason to pay someone to promote it after that point. Logic suggests they were being paid not to tell everyone that this was all made up. Perhaps the younger Stittsworth lied, or remembered wrong; but the Stittsworths appeared in many photographs from 1919-on, and in person in 1923 with the promotional film, so it makes sense that they would have been paid for this. Interestingly, it doesn't seem that Stittsworth was mentioned by full name in the advertising or public relations efforts. We did find one article referring to him as "Uncle Billy, one of the village patriarchs." (2) This story, with photos of the world's first "goat gland baby" (Billy Stittsworth) only began appearing in newspapers after Brinkley hired H.R. Mosnat, an ad man. Mosnat's efforts (better classified as pioneering public relations than advertising) included placing this "news item" in papers all over the country. (3) The story was highly inconsistent; Brinkley sometimes claimed that he had been doing experiments with "xenotransplantation" for many years by this point and was eager to try it out on a human; sometimes it was Stittsworth's idea and he tried to say no, etc. (4) The story is ridiculous.
01200:03:18Dialogue:[interjection at this point in the story]

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Dialogue: [interjection at this point in the story]

A reasonable person might think that we should include the following background information somewhere in the course of this film, probably pretty close to the front… Since the late 1800s, good scientists, bad scientists and charlatans had been experimenting with and/or selling the transplantation of testicles as a means to “rejuvenate” old, sick or impotent …View Full Footnote

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A reasonable person might think that we should include the following background information somewhere in the course of this film, probably pretty close to the front... Since the late 1800s, good scientists, bad scientists and charlatans had been experimenting with and/or selling the transplantation of testicles as a means to "rejuvenate" old, sick or impotent people. They were trying all kinds of stuff that would take too long to get into here. Suffice it to say that people like Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard, Eugene Steinach, Harry Lydston, and Serge Voronoff were certainly important influences on Brinkley. Brinkley himself cited the work of these "pioneers" in his own writing, especially Lydston who he admired greatly. Brinkley and Voronoff specifically had quite a rivalry going. It is unclear from newspaper records which of them was the first to successfully transplant the testicles of animals into humans (or say they had). Voronoff used monkey glands, and Brinkley goat glands. Voronoff was at least as famous as Brinkley, at least in Europe. Brinkley denigated him at every opportunity. Glands and hormones were hot stuff back then. For example, Dr. Frederick Banting discovered insulin in 1921; two years later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize. So while our film essentially makes it seems as if Brinkley all alone had this brilliant idea, he was really riding a wave. Like all good quacks, Brinkley took something real from the scientific zeitgeist, distorted it, and sold it to a public primed to believe him in part because they had been hearing about some of the same ideas in the papers. A lot of the things we say or imply Brinkley "invented" he didn't exactly invent, is our point. Which isn't to say he wasn't a genius, or an early pioneer of many things. It's just that the "Great Man" theory of history really falls apart when you've done enough research.
01300:03:24Image:Goat

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Image: Goat

Images taken from a real science film from 1940 about endocrine glands, edited to seem as if they are related to the surrounding images referring to Brinkley’s procedure.View Full Footnote

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Images taken from a real science film from 1940 about endocrine glands, edited to seem as if they are related to the surrounding images referring to Brinkley's procedure.
01400:03:30Image:Cross section of scrotum & following

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Image: Cross section of scrotum & following

Images taken from a fake science film called “Rejuvenation Through Gland Transplanting” which Brinkley almost certainly paid for and then distributed to movie theaters all over the U.S. Stittsworth and son toured with the film in person as “proof” of the operation’s efficacy.View Full Footnote

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Images taken from a fake science film called "Rejuvenation Through Gland Transplanting" which Brinkley almost certainly paid for and then distributed to movie theaters all over the U.S. Stittsworth and son toured with the film in person as "proof" of the operation's efficacy.
01500:03:29Image:Goat butt & following

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Image: Goat butt & following

Images taken from a real science film from 1940 about endocrine glands, edited to seem related to the surrounding images that refer to Brinkley’s procedure.View Full Footnote

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Images taken from a real science film from 1940 about endocrine glands, edited to seem related to the surrounding images that refer to Brinkley's procedure.
01600:03:31Image:Cross section of goat testicle & following

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Image: Cross section of goat testicle & following

Images taken from a fake science film called “Rejuvenation Through Gland Transplanting” which Brinkley almost certainly paid for and then distributed to movie theaters all over the U.S. Stittsworth and son toured with the film in person as “proof” of the operation’s efficacy.View Full Footnote

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Images taken from a fake science film called "Rejuvenation Through Gland Transplanting" which Brinkley almost certainly paid for and then distributed to movie theaters all over the U.S. Stittsworth and son toured with the film in person as "proof" of the operation's efficacy.
01700:03:33Text:“Baby Billy”
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Text: “Baby Billy”

It seems more likely that Billy was named after his father, whose name (Bill) isn’t mentioned in this promotional film. Images taken from a fake science film called “Rejuvenation Through Gland Transplanting” which Brinkley almost certainly paid for and then distributed to movie theaters all over the U.S. Stittsworth and son toured with the film …View Full Footnote It seems more likely that Billy was named after his father, whose name (Bill) isn't mentioned in this promotional film. Images taken from a fake science film called “Rejuvenation Through Gland Transplanting” which Brinkley almost certainly paid for and then distributed to movie theaters all over the U.S. Stittsworth and son toured with the film in person as “proof” of the operation’s efficacy.
01800:03:42Image:Stittsworth and son in newspaper

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Image: Stittsworth and son in newspaper

We put a halftone pattern on this photo to make it look like it was reproduced in papers. It might have been, but we never saw it. Headline is borrowed from some other news item in 1920.View Full Footnote

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We put a halftone pattern on this photo to make it look like it was reproduced in papers. It might have been, but we never saw it. Headline is borrowed from some other news item in 1920.
01900:04:01Image:Brinkley and baby, 3 times
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Image: Brinkley and baby, 3 times

This photo of the world’s first “goat gland baby” (Billy Stittsworth) only began appearing in newspapers after Brinkley hired H.R. Mosnat, an ad man. Mosnat’s efforts (better classified as pioneering public relations than advertising) included placing this “news item” in papers all over the country. (See also: note 11.)View Full Footnote This photo of the world's first "goat gland baby" (Billy Stittsworth) only began appearing in newspapers after Brinkley hired H.R. Mosnat, an ad man. Mosnat's efforts (better classified as pioneering public relations than advertising) included placing this "news item" in papers all over the country. (See also: note 11.)
02000:04:24Image:The Life of a Man book
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Image: The Life of a Man book

This is a real book, and sure, it’s a biography. However, there are many reasons to doubt its veracity. It was a work-for-hire: Brinkley paid the author, Clement Wood to write it. It appears that Brinkley basically dictated its contents. Wood was a well-known hack said to “churn out manuscripts nearly on demand” and to …View Full Footnote This is a real book, and sure, it's a biography. However, there are many reasons to doubt its veracity. It was a work-for-hire: Brinkley paid the author, Clement Wood to write it. It appears that Brinkley basically dictated its contents. Wood was a well-known hack said to "churn out manuscripts nearly on demand" and to write "at the pace of 80,000 words in 30 days" (not the best pace for careful research and fact-checking). Brinkley used it as a promotional tool, giving it away for free to fans and supporters. Finally, it contains many verifiably false statements. Is NUTS! really "based on" this book? Not exactly. Some of it is taken directly from its pages, but it's perhaps more honest to say that we are using The Life of a Man like Brinkley himself used it: as a source of apparent authority. Like Brinkley, we will also use other sources of apparent authority (patient testimonials, "expert interviews", newspaper articles, etc.) not found in the pages of The Life of A Man. Clement Wood wrote some other biographies-for-hire, including one for Brinkley's contemporary in quackery and questionable practices in radio broadcasting Norman Baker with the awesome title Throttle: A Fact Story About Norman Baker (how did Brinkley get stuck with The Life of a Man?). Wood's list of published works is astonishingly diverse and poor in quality. One of his books, Flesh And Other Stories, published in 1929, was the subject of an important obscenity trial. Wood was a one-time lawyer turned teacher turned Greenwich Village hipster who supposedly hosted orgies as a means of satisfying the sexual needs of his beautiful wife Gloria Goddard; he himself was said to be impotent. He is a fascinating person that we did a lot of unnecessary research on, and his Wikipedia page deserves much more attention.
02100:04:35Image:Chapter I title page
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Image: Chapter I title page

The book is real, but we hand-copied the fonts from Wood’s book, designed the chapter titles in Photoshop, printed them on vintage book paper, and glued them into its pages to film these chapter breaks. We went to all this trouble because it’s important that we establish this book as a real, physical book that …View Full Footnote The book is real, but we hand-copied the fonts from Wood's book, designed the chapter titles in Photoshop, printed them on vintage book paper, and glued them into its pages to film these chapter breaks. We went to all this trouble because it's important that we establish this book as a real, physical book that carries with it an apparent credibility, and because we are establishing that we are "adapting" this book and using large portions of its text as our own narration (which is only partly true). Some of the chapter titles are repurposed from Wood's book. "Something New Under the Sun" is Wood's title for his Chapter V, which covers the same period I'm covering in the next few scenes.
02200:04:41Image:Chapter I text page

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Image: Chapter I text page

The text here is reproduced from The Life of a Man‘s preface (with minor edits).View Full Footnote

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The text here is reproduced from The Life of a Man's preface (with minor edits).
02300:04:48Image:Town photo

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Image: Town photo

This is a real photo, but it’s not a photo of Milford. It’s actually a photo of Lawrence, Kansas, in 1856. We could not locate any photos of Milford from the right period that had the right amount of desolation. (See also: note 8.)View Full Footnote

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This is a real photo, but it's not a photo of Milford. It's actually a photo of Lawrence, Kansas, in 1856. We could not locate any photos of Milford from the right period that had the right amount of desolation. (See also: note 8.)
02400:04:57Text:“Population 300”

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Text: “Population 300”

Several sources report the 1917 population of Milford in 1917 as being even lower than what we depicted here: less than 200. On the other hand, all those sources cite The Life of A Man for their information. We haven’t done any additional work to confirm this, but the point is: it was a very …View Full Footnote

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Several sources report the 1917 population of Milford in 1917 as being even lower than what we depicted here: less than 200. On the other hand, all those sources cite The Life of A Man for their information. We haven't done any additional work to confirm this, but the point is: it was a very small town. We're not sure where we came up with the number 300; we must have seen it somewhere, or misremembered. (See also: notes 38 and 62 on Milford's population.)
02500:05:01Text:“Kansas Historian”

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Text: “Kansas Historian”

James Reardon is not a historian by profession or training, but he did spend many years producing a manuscript about Brinkley, for which he did a lot of research and amassed a big archive which he was kind enough to share with us. We gave him this “lower third” ID for two reasons: (1) we …View Full Footnote

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James Reardon is not a historian by profession or training, but he did spend many years producing a manuscript about Brinkley, for which he did a lot of research and amassed a big archive which he was kind enough to share with us. We gave him this "lower third" ID for two reasons: (1) we didn't know what else to say; (2) "Kansas Historian" makes him sound more legit than "guy who wrote an unpublished manuscript thirty years ago." In other words: for expert interviews to work, you have to buy that the person speaking is an "expert" (which, in our opinion, Reardon is).
02600:05:16Image:Baby Lenora

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Image: Baby Lenora

Images taken from a fake science film called “Rejuvenation Through Gland Transplanting” which Brinkley almost certainly paid for and then distributed to movie theaters all over the U.S. Stittsworth and son toured with the film in person as “proof” of the operation’s efficacy.View Full Footnote

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Images taken from a fake science film called "Rejuvenation Through Gland Transplanting" which Brinkley almost certainly paid for and then distributed to movie theaters all over the U.S. Stittsworth and son toured with the film in person as "proof" of the operation's efficacy.
02700:05:18Dialogue:“The gland transplants worked every time.”

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Dialogue: “The gland transplants worked every time.”

The things the Narrator says here are insane! Not even Brinkley said it “worked every time.” We’re engaging in some puffery and exaggeration for effect.View Full Footnote

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The things the Narrator says here are insane! Not even Brinkley said it "worked every time." We're engaging in some puffery and exaggeration for effect.
02800:05:27Image:Goat testicle

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Image: Goat testicle

Images taken from a fake science film called “Rejuvenation Through Gland Transplanting,” which Brinkley almost certainly paid for and then distributed to movie theaters all over the U.S. Stittsworth and son toured with the film in person as “proof” of the operation’s efficacy. However, we have no reason to believe that’s not a goat testicle, …View Full Footnote

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Images taken from a fake science film called "Rejuvenation Through Gland Transplanting," which Brinkley almost certainly paid for and then distributed to movie theaters all over the U.S. Stittsworth and son toured with the film in person as "proof" of the operation's efficacy. However, we have no reason to believe that's not a goat testicle, so... seems legit.
02900:05:32Image:Newborn baby

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Image: Newborn baby

A real science film which has nothing to do with Brinkley and is probably also from the wrong time period: “Dialogue With Life,” year unknown.View Full Footnote

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A real science film which has nothing to do with Brinkley and is probably also from the wrong time period: "Dialogue With Life," year unknown.
03000:05:33Image:Brinkely patting man on back

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Image: Brinkely patting man on back

This image is not of Brinkley and a patient; it is from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley’s fishing exploits titled “Making A World’s Record.”View Full Footnote

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This image is not of Brinkley and a patient; it is from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley's fishing exploits titled "Making A World's Record."
03100:05:36Image:Patients inside hospital

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Image: Patients inside hospital

These home movies were taken in the 1940s by John William Worrall at the Children Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Obviously, they are used here in a way that strongly implies what we are seeing here are images, probably taken by Brinkley himself given the home movie quality, of the hospital in Milford. It’s a sneaky …View Full Footnote

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These home movies were taken in the 1940s by John William Worrall at the Children Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Obviously, they are used here in a way that strongly implies what we are seeing here are images, probably taken by Brinkley himself given the home movie quality, of the hospital in Milford. It's a sneaky substitution, and one which we did to give a more human feeling to the story we are telling. After all, Brinkley did have real patients and supporters who loved him. We wanted to give them faces.
03200:05:41Image:Huey Long
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Image: Huey Long

We read rumors that Huey Long made an appointment to get goat glands but was assassinated in 1935 before he got them, so we didn’t invent the idea of Long being associated with Brinkley in some way. However, we’ve never seen any reference to his actually having done so, so we’re stretching here to make …View Full Footnote

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We read rumors that Huey Long made an appointment to get goat glands but was assassinated in 1935 before he got them, so we didn't invent the idea of Long being associated with Brinkley in some way. However, we've never seen any reference to his actually having done so, so we're stretching here to make it seem like Brinkley had some famous patients vouching for him. Why? Because the "celebrity endorsement" is a key trick used by quacks; Brinkley did it, and we're doing it too. (See also: note 161 on another Huey Long connection.)
03300:05:42Image:William Jennings Bryan
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Image: William Jennings Bryan

Rumors exist that Brinkley was William Jennings Bryan’s wife’s doctor for a time. So, this is another intentional distortion to create a “celebrity endorsement.”View Full Footnote

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Rumors exist that Brinkley was William Jennings Bryan's wife's doctor for a time. So, this is another intentional distortion to create a "celebrity endorsement."
03400:05:45Image:Rudolph Valentino
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Image: Rudolph Valentino

We wanted the name of a famous movie star here, because we heard rumors that Brinkley had operated on some “movie stars” in 1922. We picked Valentino because he was a sex symbol and we thought a contemporary audience might have heard of him.View Full Footnote

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We wanted the name of a famous movie star here, because we heard rumors that Brinkley had operated on some "movie stars" in 1922. We picked Valentino because he was a sex symbol and we thought a contemporary audience might have heard of him.
03500:05:48Image:Woodrow Wilson
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Image: Woodrow Wilson

Brinkley himself said that he “could” cure President Wilson. He never said he did.View Full Footnote

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Brinkley himself said that he "could" cure President Wilson. He never said he did.
03600:05:53Image:Buster Keaton’s COPS
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Image: Buster Keaton’s COPS

To claim that “everyone knew that Buster Keaton was no stranger to the power of goat glands” is pretty sneaky in the context of this sequence of celebrity endorsements. We’ve never read anywhere that Buster Keaton had the procedure or had anything at all to say about it. However, the fact that Keaton included this …View Full Footnote

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To claim that "everyone knew that Buster Keaton was no stranger to the power of goat glands" is pretty sneaky in the context of this sequence of celebrity endorsements. We've never read anywhere that Buster Keaton had the procedure or had anything at all to say about it. However, the fact that Keaton included this gag shows how well-known the goat gland cure was by 1922!
03700:06:16Image:[interjection at this point in the story]

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Image: [interjection at this point in the story]

At least one other popular comedy of the time referenced the goat gland cure: a 1924 Sunshine comedy called “Sad But True.” This film, directed by Slim Summerville and starring Chester Conklin, is apparently lost; we consider this a tragedy of epic proportions. And the Serge Voronoff’s monkey gland cure was referenced by the Marx …View Full Footnote

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At least one other popular comedy of the time referenced the goat gland cure: a 1924 Sunshine comedy called "Sad But True." This film, directed by Slim Summerville and starring Chester Conklin, is apparently lost; we consider this a tragedy of epic proportions. And the Serge Voronoff's monkey gland cure was referenced by the Marx Brothers in their first feature film, "The Cocoanuts" (1929). The song, written by Irving Berlin, is called "Monkey Doodle Doo" and is super creepy. The "Monkey Gland" was a popular cocktail of the era, featuring absinthe! We've had it and it is delicious. Another Hollywood aside: when studios starting injecting "talkie scenes" into otherwise silent films during the period of transition from silent to sound films (1927-1929), these films were called "goat gland films."
03800:06:25Text:Population sign

Timecode: 00:06:25

Text: Population sign

We invented these numbers and they are probably highly overstated. Surprisingly, the 1930 census lists Milford’s population as only 300. Our sources suggest uniformly that Milford grew a lot during the 1920s because of Brinkley’s fame and that 1930 should have been close to the height of Milford’s size and prosperity. Perhaps Milford “grew” from …View Full Footnote

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We invented these numbers and they are probably highly overstated. Surprisingly, the 1930 census lists Milford's population as only 300. Our sources suggest uniformly that Milford grew a lot during the 1920s because of Brinkley's fame and that 1930 should have been close to the height of Milford's size and prosperity. Perhaps Milford "grew" from just under 200 to about 300? We don't know, and we spent way too long trying to get Census data for Milford in 1920 before deciding that this was a great example of getting way too picky about a minor detail. (See also: notes 24 and 62 on Milford's population.)
03900:06:33Image:Hospital

Timecode: 00:06:33

Image: Hospital

This drawing is based on photos of Brinkley’s second hospital in Milford, which he built sometime in the 1920s. The first one, which would be more accurate to this moment in time, looks too much like a house and not enough like a hospital. Also, that first hospital was called the Brinkley-Jones Hospital (Jones being …View Full Footnote


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This drawing is based on photos of Brinkley's second hospital in Milford, which he built sometime in the 1920s. The first one, which would be more accurate to this moment in time, looks too much like a house and not enough like a hospital. Also, that first hospital was called the Brinkley-Jones Hospital (Jones being the name of one of Minnie's relatives, who apparently co-invested in the place), and we didn't want to confuse things with that title.
04000:06:36Image:Train depot

Timecode: 00:06:36

Image: Train depot

This drawing is based on a photo of the real Milford train depot (date unknown).View Full Footnote

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This drawing is based on a photo of the real Milford train depot (date unknown).
04100:06:40Image:Panorama

Timecode: 00:06:40

Image: Panorama

The rest of this panorama is invented and an exaggerated version of the truth, which is that Brinkley is the reason Milford grew larger. The real photos of Milford from the time aren’t very interesting, plus they all have the radio station in them, and the radio station doesn’t exist yet in our film!View Full Footnote

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The rest of this panorama is invented and an exaggerated version of the truth, which is that Brinkley is the reason Milford grew larger. The real photos of Milford from the time aren't very interesting, plus they all have the radio station in them, and the radio station doesn't exist yet in our film!
04200:06:44Image:Milford, built up
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Timecode: 00:06:44

Image: Milford, built up

Brinkley’s status as perpetual benefactor to his community is a big part of the image he cultivated, for obvious reasons. There are loads of period newspaper references to how much Brinkley “built up” Milford (“the Milford [Little League baseball] team wears uniforms furnished by Dr. Brinkley” said The Junction City Daily Union in 1922, and …View Full Footnote Brinkley's status as perpetual benefactor to his community is a big part of the image he cultivated, for obvious reasons. There are loads of period newspaper references to how much Brinkley "built up" Milford ("the Milford [Little League baseball] team wears uniforms furnished by Dr. Brinkley" said The Junction City Daily Union in 1922, and "[Brinkley] gave the town a $25,000 Methodist church in memory of his mother" claimd The San Bernardino County Sun in 1933) but they're all pretty hard to substantiate. He certainly made many improvements to his own property, and spared no expense ("Brinkley built electrical, water and sewage systems for his hospital, and soon his power plant supplied Milford businesses, then the Methodist church, then residences. He expanded the water and sewer systems also, and sidewalks were built," wrote Lee). And there's little doubt that Milford benefitted from its new status as rejuvenation destination ("trains stop regularly at Milford and electric lights and asphalt streets have supplanted kerosene lamps and mud roads" said the Wilmington News-Journal in 1923, and "the town is planning a new hotel" said The San Bernardino County Sun in 1923). But remember that he's got a paid staff of PR people working for him to place stories just like these in newspapers!
04300:06:47Dialogue:“became very active in the Methodist church”

Timecode: 00:06:47

Dialogue: “became very active in the Methodist church”

In fact, he built the Methodist Church!View Full Footnote

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In fact, he built the Methodist Church!
04400:06:53Dialogue:“they loved him”

Timecode: 00:06:53

Dialogue: “they loved him”

They loved him so much that in 1933, newspapers reported that a “majority of voters” in Milford unsuccessfully petitioned to have the town itself renamed “Brinkley.”View Full Footnote

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They loved him so much that in 1933, newspapers reported that a "majority of voters" in Milford unsuccessfully petitioned to have the town itself renamed "Brinkley."
04500:06:50Image:Church

Timecode: 00:06:50

Image: Church

This church was drawn to match the following archival, which isn’t from Milford at all. It’s from the 1934 film “Making a World’s Record.”View Full Footnote

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This church was drawn to match the following archival, which isn't from Milford at all. It's from the 1934 film "Making a World's Record."
04600:06:59Image:Women on bench

Timecode: 00:06:59

Image: Women on bench

These home movies were taken in the 1940s by John William Worrall at the Children Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Obviously, they are used here in a way that strongly implies what we are seeing here are images, probably taken by Brinkley himself given the home movie quality, of the hospital in Milford. It’s a sneaky …View Full Footnote

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These home movies were taken in the 1940s by John William Worrall at the Children Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Obviously, they are used here in a way that strongly implies what we are seeing here are images, probably taken by Brinkley himself given the home movie quality, of the hospital in Milford. It's a sneaky substitution, and one which we did to give a more human feeling to the story we are telling. After all, Brinkley did have real patients and supporters who loved him. We wanted to give them faces.
04700:06:55Image:Brinkley in crowd

Timecode: 00:06:55

Image: Brinkley in crowd

This image of Brinkley shaking hands is taken from the 1934 film “Making a World’s Record.”View Full Footnote

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This image of Brinkley shaking hands is taken from the 1934 film "Making a World's Record."
04800:07:06Image:Hospital exterior and interiors

Timecode: 00:07:06

Image: Hospital exterior and interiors

These home movies were taken in the 1940s by John William Worrall at the Children Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Obviously, they are used here in a way that strongly implies what we are seeing here are images, probably taken by Brinkley himself given the home movie quality, of the hospital in Milford. It’s a sneaky …View Full Footnote

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These home movies were taken in the 1940s by John William Worrall at the Children Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Obviously, they are used here in a way that strongly implies what we are seeing here are images, probably taken by Brinkley himself given the home movie quality, of the hospital in Milford. It's a sneaky substitution, and one which we did to give a more human feeling to the story we are telling. After all, Brinkley did have real patients and supporters who loved him. We wanted to give them faces.
04900:07:27Text:Author, “Charlatan”

Timecode: 00:07:27

Text: Author, “Charlatan”

Pope Brock wrote a Brinkley biography called Charlatan, which is how we found out about Brinkley in the first place!View Full Footnote

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Pope Brock wrote a Brinkley biography called Charlatan, which is how we found out about Brinkley in the first place!
05000:07:35Dialogue:“At first they came bringing their own goats”

Timecode: 00:07:35

Dialogue: “At first they came bringing their own goats”

This photo of a “patient holding his own goat” is from a newspaper, which doesn’t mean it’s true (especially since the photo accompanies an article claiming that gland transplantation has been made mandatory by Japan – !!!). It seems possible that patients brought their own goats; however, some sources say that Brinkley had been raising …View Full Footnote

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This photo of a "patient holding his own goat" is from a newspaper, which doesn't mean it's true (especially since the photo accompanies an article claiming that gland transplantation has been made mandatory by Japan – !!!). It seems possible that patients brought their own goats; however, some sources say that Brinkley had been raising goats himself for experimental purposes long before Stittsworth ever showed up, so it's not clear if this is just another cute PR story.
05100:07:37Dialogue:“Pretty soon he had his own herd of goats out back”

Timecode: 00:07:37

Dialogue: “Pretty soon he had his own herd of goats out back”

This is logical, we’ve read it in multiple sources, and we’re guessing we can believe the photo caption.View Full Footnote

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This is logical, we've read it in multiple sources, and we're guessing we can believe the photo caption.
05200:07:49Image:Goat

Timecode: 00:07:49

Image: Goat

Image of goat taken from a real science film from 1940 about endocrine glands, edited to seem as if it is related to the surrounding images referring to Brinkley’s procedure.View Full Footnote

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Image of goat taken from a real science film from 1940 about endocrine glands, edited to seem as if it is related to the surrounding images referring to Brinkley's procedure.
05300:07:49Dialogue:“Patient would select a goat”

Timecode: 00:07:49

Dialogue: “Patient would select a goat”

“The patient would select a goat with which he had the most connection.” Really though???View Full Footnote

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"The patient would select a goat with which he had the most connection." Really though???
05400:07:54Image:[interjection at this point in the story]

Timecode: 00:07:54

Image: [interjection at this point in the story]

The fact is that Brinkley’s miracle procedure wasn’t just one, static procedure, as we present it in the film; he changed what he was doing (or claimed to be doing) quite a lot over the years. It would take far more than a few footnotes to explain this… Sometimes he sliced up the goat balls …View Full Footnote

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The fact is that Brinkley's miracle procedure wasn't just one, static procedure, as we present it in the film; he changed what he was doing (or claimed to be doing) quite a lot over the years. It would take far more than a few footnotes to explain this... Sometimes he sliced up the goat balls and put a thin layer under the skin; sometimes he put the goat balls in the lower intestine; sometimes he said they were true transplantations (as in, they "lived on" in the human body); sometimes he said he'd never said that, and on and on. He was "experimenting as he went along," to be generous. We suspect that after a while, Brinkley probably just made an incision and sewed it up immediately, having only pretended to put the goat testicle in there. It would have worked just as well. Also, in his advertising he didn't emphasize impotence at all; impotence, which he usually euphemized as "sexual weakness" or "childless homes," was just one of the many diseases and ailments he claimed to be able to cure with the goat glands, ranging from insanity to sluggish temperaments to diabetes to hardening of the arteries. We're simplifying here to keep things tidy, and because at this point in the story we don't want to let on that Brinkley's cure was sold as a miracle cure-all (that makes it a little too obvious that it was fraudulent).
05500:07:51Image:Hospital corridor

Timecode: 00:07:51

Image: Hospital corridor

A real science film which has nothing to do with Brinkley and is probably also from the wrong time period: “Dialogue With Life,” year unknown.View Full Footnote

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A real science film which has nothing to do with Brinkley and is probably also from the wrong time period: "Dialogue With Life," year unknown.
05600:07:55Image:Operating room

Timecode: 00:07:55

Image: Operating room

These home movies were taken in the 1940s by John William Worrall at the Children Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Obviously, they are used here in a way that strongly implies what we are seeing here are images, probably taken by Brinkley himself given the home movie quality, of the hospital in Milford. It’s a sneaky …View Full Footnote

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These home movies were taken in the 1940s by John William Worrall at the Children Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Obviously, they are used here in a way that strongly implies what we are seeing here are images, probably taken by Brinkley himself given the home movie quality, of the hospital in Milford. It's a sneaky substitution, and one which we did to give a more human feeling to the story we are telling. After all, Brinkley did have real patients and supporters who loved him. We wanted to give them faces.
05700:08:01Dialogue:“1923, when radio was just beginning”

Timecode: 00:08:01

Dialogue: “1923, when radio was just beginning”

True, radio was really taking off in the early 1920s.View Full Footnote

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True, radio was really taking off in the early 1920s.
05800:08:04Dialogue:“Brinkley realized what radio could do”

Timecode: 00:08:04

Dialogue: “Brinkley realized what radio could do”

The story goes that he “realized what radio could do” when he visited California in 1922. “In February 1922 the doctor received a brusque invitation from Harry Chandler, owner of the Los Angeles Times, to come to the West Coast and put goat glands in one of his editors” (Brock, 56). “Chandler was in the …View Full Footnote

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The story goes that he "realized what radio could do" when he visited California in 1922. "In February 1922 the doctor received a brusque invitation from Harry Chandler, owner of the Los Angeles Times, to come to the West Coast and put goat glands in one of his editors" (Brock, 56). "Chandler was in the midst of constructing Los Angeles' first radio station, KHJ. Brinkley saw it and had a religious experience" (Brock, 60). In September of 1922, Brinkley installed a state of the art radio receiving set in his own home, a big enough deal to make the papers.
05900:08:12Dialogue:“You’re listening to the voice of”

Timecode: 00:08:12

Dialogue: “You’re listening to the voice of”

This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts.View Full Footnote


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This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts.
06000:08:25Dialogue:headline “Broadcaster of Kansas”

Timecode: 00:08:25

Dialogue: headline “Broadcaster of Kansas”

This image is also from way later, from the Mexican radio days. (From here on out, we aren’t going to note every headline or photo used just slightly out of context; we’ll just mention if it’s actually interesting!)View Full Footnote

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This image is also from way later, from the Mexican radio days. (From here on out, we aren't going to note every headline or photo used just slightly out of context; we'll just mention if it's actually interesting!)
06100:08:29Dialogue:“Do you have gland disease?”

Timecode: 00:08:29

Dialogue: “Do you have gland disease?”

This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts. We’re doing our best to edit this broadcast to make sense in 1923, and to make Brinkley seem to be talking about impotence and …View Full Footnote


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This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts. We're doing our best to edit this broadcast to make sense in 1923, and to make Brinkley seem to be talking about impotence and the goat gland cure. In fact he's talking about all kinds of other hokum, mostly having to do with the prostate.
06200:08:36Text:Population sign

Timecode: 00:08:36

Text: Population sign

We invented these numbers and they are probably highly overstated. Surprisingly, the 1930 census lists Milford’s population as only 300. Our sources suggest uniformly that Milford grew a lot during the 1920s because of Brinkley’s fame and that 1930 should have been close to the height of Milford’s size and prosperity. Perhaps Milford “grew” from …View Full Footnote

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We invented these numbers and they are probably highly overstated. Surprisingly, the 1930 census lists Milford's population as only 300. Our sources suggest uniformly that Milford grew a lot during the 1920s because of Brinkley's fame and that 1930 should have been close to the height of Milford's size and prosperity. Perhaps Milford "grew" from just under 200 to about 300? We don't know, and we spent way too long trying to get Census data for Milford in 1920 before deciding that this was a great example of getting way too picky about a minor detail. (See also: notes 24 and 38 on Milford's population.)
06300:08:40Image:KFKB

Timecode: 00:08:40

Image: KFKB

The drawing of the station is based on a real photograph of KFKB. (See also: notes 8 and 23 on the origin of this image of Milford.)View Full Footnote

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The drawing of the station is based on a real photograph of KFKB. (See also: notes 8 and 23 on the origin of this image of Milford.)
06400:08:42Dialogue:“America’s fourth radio station”
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Timecode: 00:08:42

Dialogue: “America’s fourth radio station”

At least one source indicates that KFKB was the fourth “commercial” radio station, but the source that author Lee cites is Shruben, and when we went back to Shruben to fact-check this we didn’t find that claim anywhere in the cited article. So we didn’t make this up, but we also don’t have great substatiation. …View Full Footnote At least one source indicates that KFKB was the fourth "commercial" radio station, but the source that author Lee cites is Shruben, and when we went back to Shruben to fact-check this we didn't find that claim anywhere in the cited article. So we didn't make this up, but we also don't have great substatiation. In any case, assuming it's true, we still left out the "commercial" part because (1) it's overly complicated and we don't really know what it means; and (2) we're not emphasizing what a self-serving action this was. We want to keep the focus on "innovator/pioneer" here.
06500:08:44Dialogue:“Broadcasting at 5,000 watts”

Timecode: 00:08:44

Dialogue: “Broadcasting at 5,000 watts”

When it began broadcasting in October 1923, KFKB operated at 500 watts, not 5,000. According to news reports, the signal was picked up “in Canada and by steamers in the Atlantic Ocean.” Over the years, Brinkley applied for and got approval for a signal boost to 1,500 and then 5,000 watts by 1927. So we’re …View Full Footnote

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When it began broadcasting in October 1923, KFKB operated at 500 watts, not 5,000. According to news reports, the signal was picked up "in Canada and by steamers in the Atlantic Ocean." Over the years, Brinkley applied for and got approval for a signal boost to 1,500 and then 5,000 watts by 1927. So we're not inventing the "5,000 watts" part; we're just compressing time to make his station as powerful now as it would be one day.
06600:08:47Dialogue:“Most powerful station in the world”

Timecode: 00:08:47

Dialogue: “Most powerful station in the world”

KFKB was maybe not the “most powerful station in the world.” It was certainly one of the most powerful in the United States. We have no idea whether that made it the most, or even one of the most, powerful stations in the world. We don’t think Brinkley claimed that, either, so this is our …View Full Footnote

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KFKB was maybe not the "most powerful station in the world." It was certainly one of the most powerful in the United States. We have no idea whether that made it the most, or even one of the most, powerful stations in the world. We don't think Brinkley claimed that, either, so this is our invention.
06700:08:47Text:“Sunshine station in the heart of the nation”

Timecode: 00:08:47

Text: “Sunshine station in the heart of the nation”

“The Sunshine Station in the Heart of the Nation” was the real slogan of KFKB (which he would repurpose for his later Mexican radio station as “The Sunshine Station Between the Nations”). Sometimes Brinkley said KFKB stood for “Kansas First, Kansas Best” and other times “Kansas Folks Know Best.” (See also: note 185 on XERA …View Full Footnote

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"The Sunshine Station in the Heart of the Nation" was the real slogan of KFKB (which he would repurpose for his later Mexican radio station as "The Sunshine Station Between the Nations"). Sometimes Brinkley said KFKB stood for "Kansas First, Kansas Best" and other times "Kansas Folks Know Best." (See also: note 185 on XERA slogan.)
06800:08:58Text:Radio Historian

Timecode: 00:08:58

Text: Radio Historian

Gene Fowler is not exactly a “radio historian,” although the reason we interviewed him was because he co-authored a book called Border Radio containing a section on Brinkley. It might be more fair to call him a Texas historian. Or a storyteller. Or a collector of odd Americana, mostly from Texas and often involving radio …View Full Footnote

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Gene Fowler is not exactly a "radio historian," although the reason we interviewed him was because he co-authored a book called Border Radio containing a section on Brinkley. It might be more fair to call him a Texas historian. Or a storyteller. Or a collector of odd Americana, mostly from Texas and often involving radio and eccentric characters.
06900:09:15Soundtrack:Jazz music

Timecode: 00:09:15

Soundtrack: Jazz music

The jazz music here is super inaccurate. Brinkley never would have played anything like this; his version of “sexy/badass” music was more like yodellers and singing cowboys. But we needed something that reads at least a little “sexy” to a contemporary audience, and old country music is…. cool, but not especially sexy.View Full Footnote

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The jazz music here is super inaccurate. Brinkley never would have played anything like this; his version of "sexy/badass" music was more like yodellers and singing cowboys. But we needed something that reads at least a little "sexy" to a contemporary audience, and old country music is.... cool, but not especially sexy.
07000:09:17Dialogue:“You men and you women…”

Timecode: 00:09:17

Dialogue: “You men and you women…”

This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts. We’re doing our best to edit this broadcast to make sense in 1923, and to make Brinkley seem to be talking about impotence and …View Full Footnote


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This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts. We're doing our best to edit this broadcast to make sense in 1923, and to make Brinkley seem to be talking about impotence and the goat gland cure. In fact he's talking about a prostate operation which later became a specialty of his.
07100:09:41Image:Archival of people at radio set

Timecode: 00:09:41

Image: Archival of people at radio set

Imagery taken from “Hear and Now” (1958). Unrelated to Brinkley and from the wrong era.View Full Footnote

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Imagery taken from "Hear and Now" (1958). Unrelated to Brinkley and from the wrong era.
07200:09:41Soundtrack:Potted palm music

Timecode: 00:09:41

Soundtrack: Potted palm music

The “potted palm” music is by the Victor Salon Orchestra, from a record called “Music to Relax By” (late 1920s or early 1930s).View Full Footnote

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The "potted palm" music is by the Victor Salon Orchestra, from a record called "Music to Relax By" (late 1920s or early 1930s).
07300:09:49Image:KFKB radio album

Timecode: 00:09:49

Image: KFKB radio album

We only had fragments of this album scanned from different sources, so we Photoshopped all of them together to reproduce what we think the album might have looked like.View Full Footnote

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We only had fragments of this album scanned from different sources, so we Photoshopped all of them together to reproduce what we think the album might have looked like.
07400:10:09Dialogue:“Really the first guy to blast country music”
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Timecode: 00:10:09

Dialogue: “Really the first guy to blast country music”

It might be an exaggeration to say he was the “first guy,” but he was certainly a key figure in the popularization of country music.View Full Footnote It might be an exaggeration to say he was the "first guy," but he was certainly a key figure in the popularization of country music.
07500:10:24Dialogue:“Mrs. Brinkley and I appreciate”

Timecode: 00:10:24

Dialogue: “Mrs. Brinkley and I appreciate”

This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts.View Full Footnote


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This radio broadcast is actually from later (c. 1939) and was recorded at a different radio station (XERA) Brinkley built in Mexico. We know of no extant recordings of KFKB broadcasts.
07600:11:00Dialogue:“Then he worked out this whole thing with druggists”

Timecode: 00:11:00

Dialogue: “Then he worked out this whole thing with druggists”

Brinkley indeed had this “network of druggists”: the Brinkley Pharmaceutical Association, who stocked Brinkley medicines. People who listened to Medical Question Box would be told which medicine to take for what ailment, and they could visit any number of “official” Brinkley medicine purveyors to buy them.View Full Footnote

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Brinkley indeed had this "network of druggists": the Brinkley Pharmaceutical Association, who stocked Brinkley medicines. People who listened to Medical Question Box would be told which medicine to take for what ailment, and they could visit any number of "official" Brinkley medicine purveyors to buy them.
07700:11:08Image:Drugstore archival

Timecode: 00:11:08

Image: Drugstore archival

This archival imagery is from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley’s fishing exploits titled “Making A World’s Record.” This pharmacy was not part of Brinkley’s “druggist empire.”View Full Footnote

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This archival imagery is from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley's fishing exploits titled "Making A World's Record." This pharmacy was not part of Brinkley's "druggist empire."
07800:11:10Image:Drugstore archival

Timecode: 00:11:10

Image: Drugstore archival

“Henny and Cooper Pharmacy” [home movie, date unknown]; unrelated to Brinkley and probably the wrong era.View Full Footnote

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"Henny and Cooper Pharmacy" [home movie, date unknown]; unrelated to Brinkley and probably the wrong era.
07900:11:12Image:Drugstore archival

Timecode: 00:11:12

Image: Drugstore archival

“Henny and Cooper Pharmacy” [home movie, date unknown]; unrelated to Brinkley and probably the wrong era.View Full Footnote

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"Henny and Cooper Pharmacy" [home movie, date unknown]; unrelated to Brinkley and probably the wrong era.
08000:11:32Image:The Life of a Man

Timecode: 00:11:32

Image: The Life of a Man

This is a real book, and sure, it’s a biography. However, there are many reasons to doubt its veracity. It was a work-for-hire: Brinkley paid the author, Clement Wood, $5000 to write it. It appears that Brinkley basically dictated its contents. Wood was a well-known hack said to “churn out manuscripts nearly on demand” and …View Full Footnote

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This is a real book, and sure, it's a biography. However, there are many reasons to doubt its veracity. It was a work-for-hire: Brinkley paid the author, Clement Wood, $5000 to write it. It appears that Brinkley basically dictated its contents. Wood was a well-known hack said to "churn out manuscripts nearly on demand" and to write "at the pace of 80,000 words in 30 days" (not the best pace for careful research and fact-checking). Brinkley used it as a promotional tool, giving it away for free to fans and supporters. Finally, it contains many verifiably false statements. Is NUTS! really "based on" this book? Not exactly. Some of it is taken directly from its pages, but it's perhaps more honest to say that we are using The Life of a Man like Brinkley himself used it: as a source of apparent authority. Like Brinkley, we will also use other sources of apparent authority (patient testimonials, "expert interviews", newspaper articles, etc.) not found in the pages of The Life of A Man.
08100:11:39Dialogue:“When I left my little cabin”
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Timecode: 00:11:39

Dialogue: “When I left my little cabin”

Brinkley was specifically from Beta, North Carolina.View Full Footnote Brinkley was specifically from Beta, North Carolina.
08200:11:43Dialogue:“I’d known very few”
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Timecode: 00:11:43

Dialogue: “I’d known very few”

According to Brinkley himself (who else are you supposed to believe when it comes to the personal details of a life that can’t be otherwise verified?), he indeed grew up in these conditions.View Full Footnote According to Brinkley himself (who else are you supposed to believe when it comes to the personal details of a life that can't be otherwise verified?), he indeed grew up in these conditions.
08300:11:51Image:Brinkley’s mother
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Timecode: 00:11:51

Image: Brinkley’s mother

John R. Brinkley was born a bastard. This image of a photo of his birth mother, Sarah Candace Burnett, who was impregnated by an unknown man outside of wedlock. The boy was named after and raised by his uncle John Brinkley, married to the aunt of his birth mother. (Did you follow that? No, we …View Full Footnote John R. Brinkley was born a bastard. This image of a photo of his birth mother, Sarah Candace Burnett, who was impregnated by an unknown man outside of wedlock. The boy was named after and raised by his uncle John Brinkley, married to the aunt of his birth mother. (Did you follow that? No, we didn't either, but this appears to be correct.)
08400:11:57Image:Brinkley as a boy
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Timecode: 00:11:57

Image: Brinkley as a boy

This is a photo of young Brinkley included in The Life of a Man.View Full Footnote This is a photo of young Brinkley included in The Life of a Man.
08500:12:01Image:Brinkley’s father
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Timecode: 00:12:01

Image: Brinkley’s father

This is a photo of Brinkley’s father included in The Life of a Man.View Full Footnote This is a photo of Brinkley's father included in The Life of a Man.
08600:12:05Image:Flashbacks to earlier scenes
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Timecode: 00:12:05

Image: Flashbacks to earlier scenes

We can’t verify whether this scene at Johns Hopkins actually happened, but it was a constant feature of Brinkley’s origin story. In 1902, Brinkley graduated from high school and he would have been 17 years old on July 8, so it’s feasible that he could have decided to try to enroll in medical school at …View Full Footnote We can't verify whether this scene at Johns Hopkins actually happened, but it was a constant feature of Brinkley's origin story. In 1902, Brinkley graduated from high school and he would have been 17 years old on July 8, so it's feasible that he could have decided to try to enroll in medical school at that time. However, the whole scene feels rather improbable to us.
08700:12:22Image:Brinkley as a handsome young man

Timecode: 00:12:22

Image: Brinkley as a handsome young man

We don’t know where this photo came from or how old he is, but Brinkley looks hot in it, right?View Full Footnote

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We don't know where this photo came from or how old he is, but Brinkley looks hot in it, right?
08800:12:24Image:Brinkley in cap and gown
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Timecode: 00:12:24

Image: Brinkley in cap and gown

Given that Brinkley seems to have purchased all of his degrees, we really don’t understand where this photo of him in a cap and gown came from. Another mystery.View Full Footnote Given that Brinkley seems to have purchased all of his degrees, we really don't understand where this photo of him in a cap and gown came from. Another mystery.
08900:12:27Image:Diploma
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Timecode: 00:12:27

Image: Diploma

“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25). …View Full Footnote
“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25). So: yes, he had this diploma (and a number of other diplomas and accreditations), but it doesn’t mean what you might think it means.
09000:12:37Image:Flashbacks to earlier scenes
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Timecode: 00:12:37

Image: Flashbacks to earlier scenes

This is the origin story of the goat gland procedure, as told by Brinkley and repeated ever since. Portions of this story and photos of Stittsworth and his son Billy appeared in newspapers all over the country as early as 1920. The Stittsworths also “starred” in and often appeared in person with a promotional film …View Full Footnote This is the origin story of the goat gland procedure, as told by Brinkley and repeated ever since. Portions of this story and photos of Stittsworth and his son Billy appeared in newspapers all over the country as early as 1920. The Stittsworths also "starred" in and often appeared in person with a promotional film made in 1922 or 1923. However, there are many reasons to not believe this version of the story. Here are some of them: (1) Bill Stittsworth's son said that he and his father were on Brinkley's payroll until 1942. This is strange, because Brinkley stopped doing the goat gland surgeries in 1933 and thus had no reason to pay someone to promote it after that point. Logic suggests they were being paid not to tell everyone that this was all made up. Perhaps the younger Stittsworth lied, or remembered wrong; but the Stittsworths appeared in many photographs from 1919-on, and in person in 1923 with the promotional film, so it makes sense that they would have been paid for this. Interestingly, it doesn't seem that Stittsworth was mentioned by full name in the advertising or public relations efforts. We did find one article referring to him as "Uncle Billy, one of the village patriarchs." (2) This story, with photos of the world's first "goat gland baby" (Billy Stittsworth) only began appearing in newspapers after Brinkley hired H.R. Mosnat, an ad man. Mosnat's efforts (better classified as pioneering public relations than advertising) included placing this "news item" in papers all over the country. (3) The story was highly inconsistent; Brinkley sometimes claimed that he had been doing experiments with "xenotransplantation" for many years by this point and was eager to try it out on a human; sometimes it was Stittsworth's idea and he tried to say no, etc. (4) The story is ridiculous.  
09100:12:41Image:Baby boy and Minnie

Timecode: 00:12:41

Image: Baby boy and Minnie

In other happy news, the Brinkleys were pulling in over $1 million a year during this period (1928-1930). We’re not mentioning this because we don’t want you thinking about how much money he’s making right now. We want you thinking about his accomplishments and success, yes; but not exactly in financial terms.View Full Footnote

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In other happy news, the Brinkleys were pulling in over $1 million a year during this period (1928-1930). We're not mentioning this because we don't want you thinking about how much money he's making right now. We want you thinking about his accomplishments and success, yes; but not exactly in financial terms.
09200:13:00Image:Chapter II title page

Timecode: 00:13:00

Image: Chapter II title page

“The Cobra Strikes” is Wood’s title for Chapter VII in his book, but it covers the same period we are covering here.View Full Footnote

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"The Cobra Strikes" is Wood's title for Chapter VII in his book, but it covers the same period we are covering here.
09300:13:07Image:Chapter II text

Timecode: 00:13:07

Image: Chapter II text

This text is not from The Life of Man; we wrote it to describe the next scene, to strengthen the association between what’s in the “biography” we are “adapting” and the action in this film.View Full Footnote

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This text is not from The Life of Man; we wrote it to describe the next scene, to strengthen the association between what's in the "biography" we are "adapting" and the action in this film.
09400:13:41Image:Roses
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Timecode: 00:13:41

Image: Roses

We play up Brinkley’s verified love of flowers, especially roses, whenever we can because it makes him seem like a bit of a romantic.View Full Footnote

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We play up Brinkley's verified love of flowers, especially roses, whenever we can because it makes him seem like a bit of a romantic.
09500:13:52Dialogue:“Mr. Thurston”

Timecode: 00:13:52

Dialogue: “Mr. Thurston”

Mr. Thurston the flower seller is invented.View Full Footnote

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Mr. Thurston the flower seller is invented.
09600:13:56Dialogue:“A tutor”

Timecode: 00:13:56

Dialogue: “A tutor”

Johnny Boy indeed had a tutor named Lowell Brown, a former grade school principal.View Full Footnote

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Johnny Boy indeed had a tutor named Lowell Brown, a former grade school principal.
09700:14:04Dialogue:“He is gonna make a man”

Timecode: 00:14:04

Dialogue: “He is gonna make a man”

This line is borrowed from the last ever letter Brinkley wrote Minnie in 1942. (See also: note 306 for more on “the last love letter.”)View Full Footnote

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This line is borrowed from the last ever letter Brinkley wrote Minnie in 1942. (See also: note 306 for more on "the last love letter.")
09800:14:24Dialogue:“A blatant quack”

Timecode: 00:14:24

Dialogue: “A blatant quack”

Fishbein’s words throughout this section are paraphrased from his actual writing. Here is the first time we bring the word “quack” into this film. It’s worth taking a second to define it. We like Stephen Barret’s definition of quackery as “anything involving overpromotion in the field of health. This definition would include questionable ideas as …View Full Footnote



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Fishbein's words throughout this section are paraphrased from his actual writing. Here is the first time we bring the word "quack" into this film. It's worth taking a second to define it. We like Stephen Barret's definition of quackery as "anything involving overpromotion in the field of health. This definition would include questionable ideas as well as questionable products and services, regardless of the sincerity of their promoters. In line with this definition, the word 'fraud' would be reserved only for situations in which deliberate deception is involved. Unproven methods are not necessarily quackery. Those consistent with established scientific concepts may be considered experimental. Legitimate researchers and practitioners do not promote unproven procedures in the marketplace but engage in responsible, properly-designed studies. Methods not compatible with established scientific concepts should be classified as nonsensical or disproven rather than experimental. Methods that sound scientific but are nonsensical can also be classified as pseudoscientific. Folk medicine, even when known to be erroneous, is not generally considered quackery so long as it is not done for gain. Thus, self-treatment, family home treatment, neighborly medical advice, and the noncommercial activities of folk healers should not be labeled as quackery. However, folk medicine and quackery are closely connected because folk medicine often provides a basis for commercial exploitation. For example, herbs long gathered for personal use have been packaged and promoted by modern entrepreneurs, and practitioners who once served their neighbors voluntarily or for gratuities may market themselves outside their traditional communities. All things considered, I find it most useful to define quackery as the promotion of unsubstantiated methods that lack a scientifically plausible rationale. Promotion usually involves a profit motive. Unsubstantiated means either unproven or disproven. Implausible means that it either clashes with well-established facts or makes so little sense that it is not worth testing." We have already established Brinkley as the hero of this story and are trying to keep you identifying with him as such. So we're doing a lot of manipulative things to make you think that he is not a quack, and to ensure that even if you already know that Brinkley is a quack, at this point you may think he is at least not a fraud (maybe he's just a bit of a weirdo who believes this stuff works.) Later, we will make it as clear as possible that we think he is both a quack and a fraud. Conversely, we are now introducing Morris Fishbein as Brinkley's nemesis. So we're doing what we can to make him as unappealing and unreasonable as possible. Later, we will make it clear that Fishbein was hardly perfect, but when it comes to Brinkley he was entirely correct.
09900:14:37Dialogue:“Over 10,000 times”

Timecode: 00:14:37

Dialogue: “Over 10,000 times”

This is an exaggeration; Brinkley had not claimed anything like 10,000 procedures at this time (or at any point in his career). He was quoted in 1923 as having done 3,000; in 1926, newspapers reported 4,000; and in 1938, the AMA estimated the total number as between 5,000 and 6,000.View Full Footnote

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This is an exaggeration; Brinkley had not claimed anything like 10,000 procedures at this time (or at any point in his career). He was quoted in 1923 as having done 3,000; in 1926, newspapers reported 4,000; and in 1938, the AMA estimated the total number as between 5,000 and 6,000.
10000:14:43Image:Archival of AMA exterior, Fishbein’s office

Timecode: 00:14:43

Image: Archival of AMA exterior, Fishbein’s office

Archival imagery taken from “Men Of Medicine” (American Medical Association, 1938). It’s from a slightly later time period than is being discussed here…View Full Footnote

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Archival imagery taken from "Men Of Medicine" (American Medical Association, 1938). It's from a slightly later time period than is being discussed here...
10100:14:49Text:Medical Historian

Timecode: 00:14:49

Text: Medical Historian

Professor Megan Seaholm is a senior lecturer in the Dept. of History at UT Austin. One of her research areas is the social construction of medical science and medical practice.View Full Footnote

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Professor Megan Seaholm is a senior lecturer in the Dept. of History at UT Austin. One of her research areas is the social construction of medical science and medical practice.
10200:15:04Image:Archival of medical students

Timecode: 00:15:04

Image: Archival of medical students

Archival imagery taken from “Men Of Medicine” (American Medical Association, 1938). It’s from a slightly later time period than is being discussed here…View Full Footnote

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Archival imagery taken from "Men Of Medicine" (American Medical Association, 1938). It's from a slightly later time period than is being discussed here...
10300:15:09Dialogue:“The common man”

Timecode: 00:15:09

Dialogue: “The common man”

We’re definitely pushing Fishbein to speak his prejudices a little more blatantly than he typically would have done; i.e., that “common man” line. But the spirit of what he is saying here is accurate to what we have read of his writings during this time. (See also: note 98.)View Full Footnote

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We're definitely pushing Fishbein to speak his prejudices a little more blatantly than he typically would have done; i.e., that "common man" line. But the spirit of what he is saying here is accurate to what we have read of his writings during this time. (See also: note 98.)
10400:15:27Dialogue:“Alternative practitioners”

Timecode: 00:15:27

Dialogue: “Alternative practitioners”

This term “alternative practitioners” is not historically accurate, but it’s more legible to a contemporary audience than “irregular doctors.” (That’s what they called alternative practitioners back then!)View Full Footnote

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This term "alternative practitioners" is not historically accurate, but it's more legible to a contemporary audience than "irregular doctors." (That's what they called alternative practitioners back then!)
10500:15:30Image:Archival of Fishbein at podium

Timecode: 00:15:30

Image: Archival of Fishbein at podium

Archival imagery taken from “Men Of Medicine” (American Medical Association, 1938). It’s from a slightly later time period than is being discussed here…View Full Footnote

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Archival imagery taken from "Men Of Medicine" (American Medical Association, 1938). It's from a slightly later time period than is being discussed here...
10600:15:43Image:3 photos of Fishbein

Timecode: 00:15:43

Image: 3 photos of Fishbein

These are – intentionally – the least attractive photos of Fishbein we could find. At this point we would like to create the impression that he is a deranged maniac with an inexplicable personal vendetta against our hero Brinkley.View Full Footnote These are – intentionally – the least attractive photos of Fishbein we could find. At this point we would like to create the impression that he is a deranged maniac with an inexplicable personal vendetta against our hero Brinkley.
10700:15:43Dialogue:“A medical crusader for”

Timecode: 00:15:43

Dialogue: “A medical crusader for”

A bit of a tricky edit. Brock actually said in the interview, “a crusader for medical standards and ethics,” but we’ve edited him to say “a crusader for the AMA.” We don’t want Fishbein to seem too reasonable right now; crusading for medical standards and ethics sounds like a good thing, whereas crusading for the …View Full Footnote

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A bit of a tricky edit. Brock actually said in the interview, "a crusader for medical standards and ethics," but we've edited him to say "a crusader for the AMA." We don't want Fishbein to seem too reasonable right now; crusading for medical standards and ethics sounds like a good thing, whereas crusading for the AMA can at least be interpreted as a bad thing.
10800:15:59Dialogue:“What he called quackery”

Timecode: 00:15:59

Dialogue: “What he called quackery”

Another tricky edit. Professor Seaholm isn’t saying anything here she didn’t really say in our interview; it’s just that contextually, the editing strongly implies she is “on Brinkley’s side” against Fishbein. In our interview, Professor Seaholm was sometimes critical of Fishbein, but not his activities against Brinkley and other actual quacks.View Full Footnote

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Another tricky edit. Professor Seaholm isn't saying anything here she didn't really say in our interview; it's just that contextually, the editing strongly implies she is "on Brinkley's side" against Fishbein. In our interview, Professor Seaholm was sometimes critical of Fishbein, but not his activities against Brinkley and other actual quacks.
10900:16:06Dialogue:“What a real doctor was”

Timecode: 00:16:06

Dialogue: “What a real doctor was”

Really the same note as the previous one: Pope Brock knows that Brinkley is not a “real doctor,” but we’re continuing to edit this scene in a manipulative way that makes it seem that he is on Brinkley’s side against Fishbein.View Full Footnote

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Really the same note as the previous one: Pope Brock knows that Brinkley is not a "real doctor," but we're continuing to edit this scene in a manipulative way that makes it seem that he is on Brinkley's side against Fishbein.
11000:16:12Dialogue:“For going too far”

Timecode: 00:16:12

Dialogue: “For going too far”

Brock was not speaking about Fishbein’s relationship to Brinkley or other confirmed quacks when he said Fishbein sometimes went “too far” or was “too narrow in his thinking,” so this is also a bit out of context. In fact, what Brock was referring to in this part of our interview was an anti-trust lawsuit filed …View Full Footnote

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Brock was not speaking about Fishbein's relationship to Brinkley or other confirmed quacks when he said Fishbein sometimes went "too far" or was "too narrow in his thinking," so this is also a bit out of context. In fact, what Brock was referring to in this part of our interview was an anti-trust lawsuit filed against Fishbein/the AMA in 1938. The question of whether the AMA acts as a monopoly is complex and worthy of examination; we are not providing that examination here because we want to stick to a much simpler "good guy, bad guy" dynamic for now.
11100:16:15Image:Two logos

Timecode: 00:16:15

Image: Two logos

We created this graphic to make it look like the FRC and AMA are literally “two sides of one coin.” That’s manipulative and oversimplied. They are separate agencies whose interests sometimes align (as they did in this case). However, claiming that anyone who is against you is part of one giant conspiracy of powerful interests …View Full Footnote We created this graphic to make it look like the FRC and AMA are literally "two sides of one coin." That's manipulative and oversimplied. They are separate agencies whose interests sometimes align (as they did in this case). However, claiming that anyone who is against you is part of one giant conspiracy of powerful interests in a very common tactic of the quack, so we're doing it here and it's something continue to do as we continue to build this story from Brinkley's perspective.
11200:16:24Image:Newspaper headline

Timecode: 00:16:24

Image: Newspaper headline

The American Medical Association indeed asked the FRC to investigate Brinkley – as did many others, including fans who were simply annoyed that his broadcast was “jumping signals” to override other stations whose programming they enjoyed. We’re leaving that out here for what should be obvious reasons in the context of this scene.View Full Footnote

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The American Medical Association indeed asked the FRC to investigate Brinkley – as did many others, including fans who were simply annoyed that his broadcast was "jumping signals" to override other stations whose programming they enjoyed. We're leaving that out here for what should be obvious reasons in the context of this scene.
11300:16:41Image:FRC members

Timecode: 00:16:41

Image: FRC members

This is actually a photo of the Federal Radio Commission in 1929, so pretty close to the right time period. Also: omg, look at how big their ears are!!!View Full Footnote

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This is actually a photo of the Federal Radio Commission in 1929, so pretty close to the right time period. Also: omg, look at how big their ears are!!!
11400:16:43Dialogue:“Wild radio dial”

Timecode: 00:16:43

Dialogue: “Wild radio dial”

The FRC was created in 1926 to regulate radio use “as the public interest, convenience, or necessity” requires. The Radio Act of 1927 superseded the Radio Act of 1912, which had given regulatory powers over radio communication to the Secretary of Commerce and Labor.View Full Footnote

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The FRC was created in 1926 to regulate radio use "as the public interest, convenience, or necessity" requires. The Radio Act of 1927 superseded the Radio Act of 1912, which had given regulatory powers over radio communication to the Secretary of Commerce and Labor.
11500:16:49Dialogue:“The FCC”

Timecode: 00:16:49

Dialogue: “The FCC”

True. The Federal Radio Commission became the Federal Communications Commission in 1934.View Full Footnote

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True. The Federal Radio Commission became the Federal Communications Commission in 1934.
11600:17:03Dialogue:“America’s favorite radio station”

Timecode: 00:17:03

Dialogue: “America’s favorite radio station”

True: KFKB was voted the most popular radio station in America in a 1929 survey conducted by the Chicago-based magazine Radio Times. But we’ve noticed that quacks are especially good at calling on their fans to vote in things like this. They can always marshal popularity when credibility is scarce.View Full Footnote

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True: KFKB was voted the most popular radio station in America in a 1929 survey conducted by the Chicago-based magazine Radio Times. But we've noticed that quacks are especially good at calling on their fans to vote in things like this. They can always marshal popularity when credibility is scarce.
11700:17:06Dialogue:“One million dollar expansion”

Timecode: 00:17:06

Dialogue: “One million dollar expansion”

His planned expansion was actually budgeted for $100,000, not $1 million. We thought $1 million sounded a lot more impressive.View Full Footnote

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His planned expansion was actually budgeted for $100,000, not $1 million. We thought $1 million sounded a lot more impressive.
11800:17:10Dialogue:“Because of Fishbein’s campaign”

Timecode: 00:17:10

Dialogue: “Because of Fishbein’s campaign”

Basically true, but to call it “Fishbein’s campaign” is somewhat of a distortion. Yes, Fishbein worked hard to take Brinkley down starting in 1928, but he was hardly the sole mastermind we kind of make him out to be. Many others had an interest in “attacking” Brinkley, notably the “Kansas City Star.” The “Star” ran …View Full Footnote Basically true, but to call it "Fishbein's campaign" is somewhat of a distortion. Yes, Fishbein worked hard to take Brinkley down starting in 1928, but he was hardly the sole mastermind we kind of make him out to be. Many others had an interest in "attacking" Brinkley, notably the "Kansas City Star." The "Star" ran many negative stories about Brinkley beginning in 1930, either because they wanted to educate the public about what a fraud he was or because their own radio station, WDAF, was nowhere near as successful as Brinkley's KFKB, or perhaps it was a combination of both motives. Newspaper columnist William Allen White wrote many anti-Brinkley editorials in the Emporia Gazette, describing his supporters as a "great seething moronic underworld" that could be taught to read and write, but not to think. And that's only a couple of examples of the many persons and institutions that came after Brinkley over his long career. Regardless, for the sake of simplicity and to create a tighter narrative with a clearer hero/villain structure, we will continue to imply throughout the film that all the bad things that happen to Brinkley come largely because of a personal vendetta undertaken by Fishbein, a powerful and connected person.
11900:17:34Dialogue:“Local chapter of the AMA”

Timecode: 00:17:34

Dialogue: “Local chapter of the AMA”

The hearing actually took place in a hotel (the Hotel Kansan).View Full Footnote

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The hearing actually took place in a hotel (the Hotel Kansan).
12000:17:58Dialogue:“First they ignore you”
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Timecode: 00:17:58

Dialogue: “First they ignore you”

This is a Gandhi quote, except according to Wikiquote, there is no record of Gandhi saying this. A close variant of the quotation first appears in a 1918 US trade union address by Nicholas Klein. Wikiquote also reports that a very similar quote is often attributed to Arther Schopenhauer in the format, “Every truth passes …View Full Footnote This is a Gandhi quote, except according to Wikiquote, there is no record of Gandhi saying this. A close variant of the quotation first appears in a 1918 US trade union address by Nicholas Klein. Wikiquote also reports that a very similar quote is often attributed to Arther Schopenhauer in the format, "Every truth passes through three stages before it is recognized. In the first it is ridiculed, in the second it is opposed, in the third it is regarded as self- evident." However, there is no record of Schopenhauer saying that either.
12100:18:17Dialogue:“Amateur-ish”

Timecode: 00:18:17

Dialogue: “Amateur-ish”

The dialogue in this hearing, unless otherwise noted, we pretty much invented.View Full Footnote

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The dialogue in this hearing, unless otherwise noted, we pretty much invented.
12200:18:40Dialogue:“Alternative medicine”

Timecode: 00:18:40

Dialogue: “Alternative medicine”

This term “alternative practitioners” is not historically accurate, but it’s more legible to a contemporary audience than “irregular doctors.” (That’s what they called alternative practitioners back then!)View Full Footnote

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This term "alternative practitioners" is not historically accurate, but it's more legible to a contemporary audience than "irregular doctors." (That's what they called alternative practitioners back then!)
12300:18:54Dialogue:“Is only in an experimental stage”

Timecode: 00:18:54

Dialogue: “Is only in an experimental stage”

We borrowed the lines, “Of course gland transplantation is only in an experimental stage – for some people…” from The Life of A Man (254). The point is that this guy is right: gland transplantation was only in an experimental stage, and was soon abandoned as totally ineffective (see note 12 on omitted background on the era of …View Full Footnote

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We borrowed the lines, "Of course gland transplantation is only in an experimental stage – for some people..." from The Life of A Man (254). The point is that this guy is right: gland transplantation was only in an experimental stage, and was soon abandoned as totally ineffective (see note 12 on omitted background on the era of experimental gland transplantation).
12400:19:17Dialogue:“Doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis”

Timecode: 00:19:17

Dialogue: “Doctor named Ignaz Semmelweis”

As far as we know, Brinkley did not actually reference Semmelweis in this hearing. However, Semmelweis was a real person and his story is more or less as Brinkley describes it, and quacks absolutely love to tell this story. Why? Because it is real example of a “paradigm shift” in science, one of those rare occasions …View Full Footnote

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As far as we know, Brinkley did not actually reference Semmelweis in this hearing. However, Semmelweis was a real person and his story is more or less as Brinkley describes it, and quacks absolutely love to tell this story. Why? Because it is real example of a "paradigm shift" in science, one of those rare occasions about which it is accurate to say, "Everything we thought we knew was wrong!" Because Semmelweis was persecuted for his beliefs, the quack can also place his inevitable trouble with authorities into a much more beneficial "underdog" narrative framework: from "he must have done something wrong to be in so much legal trouble" to "he is a persecuted genius ahead of his time." Note how much exciting a story the latter is. In the libel trial that comes later in our film, Brinkley's counsel really did force Fishbein "to agree it had taken many years for the medical profession to accept the theories of Harvey, Jenner, Koch, Semmelweis, and other medical giants."
12500:20:25Image:Testimonies from patients

Timecode: 00:20:25

Image: Testimonies from patients

Patient testimonials are the bedrock of the quack’s claim to legitimacy, and Brinkley indeed had many patients testify for him at this hearing (we don’t know their exact words). “‘Testimonials’ are personal accounts of someone’s experiences with a therapy. They are generally subjective: ‘I felt better,’ ‘I had more energy,’ ‘I wasn’t as nauseated,’ ‘The …View Full Footnote

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Patient testimonials are the bedrock of the quack's claim to legitimacy, and Brinkley indeed had many patients testify for him at this hearing (we don't know their exact words). "'Testimonials' are personal accounts of someone's experiences with a therapy. They are generally subjective: 'I felt better,' 'I had more energy,' 'I wasn't as nauseated,' 'The pain went away,' and so on. Testimonials are inherently selective. People are much more likely to talk about their 'amazing cure" than about something that didn't work for them. The proponents of 'alternative' methods can, of course, pick which testimonials they use. For example, let's suppose that if 100 people are sick, 50 of them will recover on their own even if they do nothing. So, if all 100 people use a certain therapy, half will get better even if the treatment doesn't do anything. These people could say 'I took therapy X and my disease went away!' This would be completely honest, even though the therapy had done nothing for them. So, testimonials are useless for judging treatment effectiveness. For all we know, those giving the testimonial might be the only people who felt better. Or, suppose that of 100 patients trying a therapy, 10 experienced no change, 85 felt worse, and 5 felt better. The five who improved could quite honestly say that they felt better, even though nearly everyone who tried the remedy stayed the same or got worse!" (Common Questions about Science and "Alternative" Health Methods, Gregory L. Smith)
12600:20:50Dialogue:“20 goats a week”

Timecode: 00:20:50

Dialogue: “20 goats a week”

Not only did Brinkley apparently receive 20 goats a week, but by 1930 it was probably more accurate to say 40 goats a week! We had invented the number 20 in the writing phase, and only later did we find a reference to 40. A rare case where we didn’t engage in puffery but rather …View Full Footnote

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Not only did Brinkley apparently receive 20 goats a week, but by 1930 it was probably more accurate to say 40 goats a week! We had invented the number 20 in the writing phase, and only later did we find a reference to 40. A rare case where we didn't engage in puffery but rather its opposite. On the other hand: who knows if 40 is accurate, either.
12700:21:10Dialogue:“In all my life”

Timecode: 00:21:10

Dialogue: “In all my life”

This testimony is taken verbatim from a book called Shadows and Sunshine (published by Brinkley) purporting to be a compilation of statements by actual patients. The patient testimony quoted here is from the section titled, “Suffered Tortures of the Damned” (page 19). We don’t know if Brinkley just made all these patient testimonials up or …View Full Footnote

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This testimony is taken verbatim from a book called Shadows and Sunshine (published by Brinkley) purporting to be a compilation of statements by actual patients. The patient testimony quoted here is from the section titled, "Suffered Tortures of the Damned" (page 19). We don't know if Brinkley just made all these patient testimonials up or not; it seems likely he did.
12800:21:54Dialogue:“That’s enough!”

Timecode: 00:21:54

Dialogue: “That’s enough!”

A pretty major omission: in addition to testimony provided Brinkley’s happy patients, this hearing featured days of testimony from both very unhappy patients and a slew of medical experts who skewered, mocked and insulted Brinkley and his goat gland procedure. He really looked pretty bad at this hearing, but we’re leaving all that out.View Full Footnote

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A pretty major omission: in addition to testimony provided Brinkley's happy patients, this hearing featured days of testimony from both very unhappy patients and a slew of medical experts who skewered, mocked and insulted Brinkley and his goat gland procedure. He really looked pretty bad at this hearing, but we're leaving all that out.
12900:21:58Dialogue:“The hearing adjourned”

Timecode: 00:21:58

Dialogue: “The hearing adjourned”

Actually the hearing concluded with the board members agreeing to come and watch Brinkley perform his goat gland surgery. Which they did. We couldn’t make that scene work here narratively, which is too bad, because it was quite something! It opens Pope Brock’s excellent book Charlatan, which you all should read.View Full Footnote

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Actually the hearing concluded with the board members agreeing to come and watch Brinkley perform his goat gland surgery. Which they did. We couldn't make that scene work here narratively, which is too bad, because it was quite something! It opens Pope Brock's excellent book Charlatan, which you all should read.
13000:22:01Dialogue:“Brinkley then travelled”

Timecode: 00:22:01

Dialogue: “Brinkley then travelled”

Actually, the FRC hearing came first (in May 1930) and then the Medical Board hearing took place six weeks later in July. We changed the order for better narrative flow.View Full Footnote

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Actually, the FRC hearing came first (in May 1930) and then the Medical Board hearing took place six weeks later in July. We changed the order for better narrative flow.
13100:22:05Image:FRC members

Timecode: 00:22:05

Image: FRC members

This is actually a photo of the Federal Radio Commission in 1929, so pretty close to the right time period. Also: omg, look at how big their ears are!!!View Full Footnote

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This is actually a photo of the Federal Radio Commission in 1929, so pretty close to the right time period. Also: omg, look at how big their ears are!!!
13200:22:09Dialogue:“A trainful of KFKB”

Timecode: 00:22:09

Dialogue: “A trainful of KFKB”

While we read that Brinkley “planned” to bring 1,000 satisfied patients to DC in a chartered train, we never read that this actually happened.View Full Footnote


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While we read that Brinkley "planned" to bring 1,000 satisfied patients to DC in a chartered train, we never read that this actually happened.
13300:22:22Dialogue:“Pornography”

Timecode: 00:22:22

Dialogue: “Pornography”

Brinkley faced three charges: KFKB had deviated from its assigned wave length; he was broadcasting obscene and indecent things; and his answers to listeners to his Medical Question Box were “inimical to the public interest.” We are reenacting this hearing as if the FRC were just snobs who didn’t like country music or hated the …View Full Footnote

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Brinkley faced three charges: KFKB had deviated from its assigned wave length; he was broadcasting obscene and indecent things; and his answers to listeners to his Medical Question Box were "inimical to the public interest." We are reenacting this hearing as if the FRC were just snobs who didn't like country music or hated the First Amendment. While these issues were certainly at play, it was most of all the advisability and safety of Medical Question Box (which we're leaving out completely) that was at issue at the hearing. Prescribing medicines for people over the air was seen as a pretty bad thing to do.
13400:22:32Image:Brinkley supporters

Timecode: 00:22:32

Image: Brinkley supporters

According to Brock, about thirty Brinkley supporters took the stand, but mostly they talked about was how much they loved Medical Question Box.View Full Footnote

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According to Brock, about thirty Brinkley supporters took the stand, but mostly they talked about was how much they loved Medical Question Box.
13500:23:21Dialogue:“The kind of good the public likes”

Timecode: 00:23:21

Dialogue: “The kind of good the public likes”

Actually, Brinkley did not testify at this hearing. We invented this cool zinger. You know, to make him more cool.View Full Footnote

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Actually, Brinkley did not testify at this hearing. We invented this cool zinger. You know, to make him more cool.
13600:23:28Image:Archival of Brinkley

Timecode: 00:23:28

Image: Archival of Brinkley

This archival imagery is not of the Brinkleys in Milford; it is from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley’s fishing exploits titled “Making A World’s Record.”View Full Footnote

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This archival imagery is not of the Brinkleys in Milford; it is from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley's fishing exploits titled "Making A World's Record."
13700:23:42Image:Conspiring men

Timecode: 00:23:42

Image: Conspiring men

This probably isn’t really what this looked like, and also why would Fishbein be there? But we have by this point in the film fully committed to using as many “enemies conspiring” conspiracy theory clichés as possible.View Full Footnote

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This probably isn't really what this looked like, and also why would Fishbein be there? But we have by this point in the film fully committed to using as many "enemies conspiring" conspiracy theory clichés as possible.
13800:23:51Dialogue:“They revoked both”

Timecode: 00:23:51

Dialogue: “They revoked both”

It’s more accurate to say that the FRC declined to renew his radio license. The FRC decision was made on Friday the 13th(!) of June 1930. The vote was 3-2. Also, Brinkley appealed both of these decisions and the appeals process went on for a few more months, but we’re leaving all that our for …View Full Footnote

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It's more accurate to say that the FRC declined to renew his radio license. The FRC decision was made on Friday the 13th(!) of June 1930. The vote was 3-2. Also, Brinkley appealed both of these decisions and the appeals process went on for a few more months, but we're leaving all that our for brevity since his appeals failed anyway.
13900:24:08Dialogue:“None of the board members fared well following the hearings”

Timecode: 00:24:08

Dialogue: “None of the board members fared well following the hearings”

This whole scene is batshit crazy, so we assume it’s a complete fabrication. But believe it or not, it comes straight out of The Life of A Man; we made very few changes to the text. After this litany of terrible fates, Wood added, “Do not think Brinkley did not observe all this, with a sad serene …View Full Footnote

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This whole scene is batshit crazy, so we assume it's a complete fabrication. But believe it or not, it comes straight out of The Life of A Man; we made very few changes to the text. After this litany of terrible fates, Wood added, "Do not think Brinkley did not observe all this, with a sad serene relish. He is a philosopher, as well as so much else; and he is a devout believer in divine justice. He believes that the future of his persecutors still left untouched will be very unhappy, because of the unjust and unrighteous thing they did against him; that their days in this world will be brief, and shortened by what they did" (265).
14000:24:53Image:Milford all boarded up

Timecode: 00:24:53

Image: Milford all boarded up

Brinkley actually continued to maintain his hospital in Milford until 1933 (he couldn’t perform surgeries himself, but other surgeons in his employ could).View Full Footnote

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Brinkley actually continued to maintain his hospital in Milford until 1933 (he couldn't perform surgeries himself, but other surgeons in his employ could).
14100:25:14Image:Brinkley recording a record for his son

Timecode: 00:25:14

Image: Brinkley recording a record for his son

This audio is from a record album Brinkley recorded for his son in Chicago in 1933; it’s not from his last broadcast at KFKB, which is strongly implied in this sequence.View Full Footnote

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This audio is from a record album Brinkley recorded for his son in Chicago in 1933; it's not from his last broadcast at KFKB, which is strongly implied in this sequence.
14200:25:17Image:Record album spinning

Timecode: 00:25:17

Image: Record album spinning

The “Last Words” inscription on this record doesn’t make any literal sense; we imagined it in order to better invoke the seriousness of this blow to Brinkley’s life work, and to reinscribe the theme of Brinkley wanting his son to hear it after he is dead.View Full Footnote

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The "Last Words" inscription on this record doesn't make any literal sense; we imagined it in order to better invoke the seriousness of this blow to Brinkley's life work, and to reinscribe the theme of Brinkley wanting his son to hear it after he is dead.
14300:26:34Image:People taking radio station away

Timecode: 00:26:34

Image: People taking radio station away

This is obviously metaphorical.View Full Footnote

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This is obviously metaphorical.
14400:26:45Image:Stittsworth and son enter
,

Timecode: 00:26:45

Image: Stittsworth and son enter

We imagined this encounter. We thought it made him look badass.View Full Footnote

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We imagined this encounter. We thought it made him look badass.
14500:27:06Image:Chapter III title page

Timecode: 00:27:06

Image: Chapter III title page

“The Will of the People” is Clement Wood’s title for Chapter XIII in his book, dealing with the same period. The title refers to Brinkley’s preferred version of the story of the gubernatorial race: “Thousands of Kansans have written urging me to run for governor,” he said. “Judging from my mail the people of Kansas …View Full Footnote

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"The Will of the People" is Clement Wood's title for Chapter XIII in his book, dealing with the same period. The title refers to Brinkley's preferred version of the story of the gubernatorial race: "Thousands of Kansans have written urging me to run for governor," he said. "Judging from my mail the people of Kansas seem to believe that I have been persecuted, not prosecuted, and as long as I have a leg to stand on I will fight'" (quoted in Brock, 155).
14600:27:10Image:Chapter III text

Timecode: 00:27:10

Image: Chapter III text

This text is not from The Life of Man; we wrote it. But it accurately portrays Wood’s description of these events: it wasn’t Brinkley’s idea to run for governor; oh no. It was the will of the people!View Full Footnote

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This text is not from The Life of Man; we wrote it. But it accurately portrays Wood's description of these events: it wasn't Brinkley's idea to run for governor; oh no. It was the will of the people!
14700:27:14Image:[interjection at this point in the story]

Timecode: 00:27:14

Image: [interjection at this point in the story]

Various stories exist about exactly when and how Brinkley came to this decision.View Full Footnote



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Various stories exist about exactly when and how Brinkley came to this decision.
14800:27:20Image:Headline, “Brinkley Enters Race”

Timecode: 00:27:20

Image: Headline, “Brinkley Enters Race”

We created this headline in Photoshop; none of the real ones we had good copies of said anything this clear. Actually, we might have borrowed the “rams self” language from a real newspaper, but we don’t remember for sure.View Full Footnote

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We created this headline in Photoshop; none of the real ones we had good copies of said anything this clear. Actually, we might have borrowed the "rams self" language from a real newspaper, but we don't remember for sure.
14900:27:20Dialogue:“The higher I bounce”

Timecode: 00:27:20

Dialogue: “The higher I bounce”

Brinkley really did say, “the harder they hit me the higher I bounce!” at at least one point in his life, but did not, as far as we know, use it as a slogan.View Full Footnote


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Brinkley really did say, "the harder they hit me the higher I bounce!" at at least one point in his life, but did not, as far as we know, use it as a slogan.
15000:27:28Image:[interjection at this point in the story]

Timecode: 00:27:28

Image: [interjection at this point in the story]

Brinkley actually ran for Kansas Governor three times, in 1930, 1932 and 1934. Some of the details of this sequence are “borrowed” from the other two gubernatorial races, which we left out of the film for narrative flow.View Full Footnote Brinkley actually ran for Kansas Governor three times, in 1930, 1932 and 1934. Some of the details of this sequence are "borrowed" from the other two gubernatorial races, which we left out of the film for narrative flow.
15100:27:31Image:Goat paperweight

Timecode: 00:27:31

Image: Goat paperweight

A real paperweight, yes.View Full Footnote

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A real paperweight, yes.
15200:27:37Image:Headline, “Lakes”

Timecode: 00:27:37

Image: Headline, “Lakes”

Weird but true, this business with the lakes! It had to do with increasing rainfall. “Brinkley also proposed building a recreational lake in every county in the state” (Lee, 122).View Full Footnote

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Weird but true, this business with the lakes! It had to do with increasing rainfall. "Brinkley also proposed building a recreational lake in every county in the state" (Lee, 122).
15300:27:39Image:Archival of crowd and Brinkley at podium

Timecode: 00:27:39

Image: Archival of crowd and Brinkley at podium

These archival images are not of Brinkley running for governor; they are from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley’s fishing exploits titled “Making A World’s Record.”View Full Footnote

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These archival images are not of Brinkley running for governor; they are from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley's fishing exploits titled "Making A World's Record."
15400:27:39Dialogue:“When God made Kansas”

Timecode: 00:27:39

Dialogue: “When God made Kansas”

Weird but true, this business with the lakes! It had to do with increasing rainfall. “Brinkley also proposed building a recreational lake in every county in the state” (Lee, 122). We feel that we didn’t make up the actual line “When God made Kansas, He blessed her with everything but lakes” (it sure sounds like …View Full Footnote

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Weird but true, this business with the lakes! It had to do with increasing rainfall. "Brinkley also proposed building a recreational lake in every county in the state" (Lee, 122). We feel that we didn't make up the actual line "When God made Kansas, He blessed her with everything but lakes" (it sure sounds like Brinkley!), but we can't track down the reference now, so maybe we did make it up?
15500:27:49Dialogue:“The first thing I’ll do”

Timecode: 00:27:49

Dialogue: “The first thing I’ll do”

True! “He favored free textbooks, free medical services for the poor, and health clubs for children in every county” (Lee, 122).View Full Footnote

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True! "He favored free textbooks, free medical services for the poor, and health clubs for children in every county" (Lee, 122).
15600:28:01Dialogue:“Dr. Brinkley is not going”

Timecode: 00:28:01

Dialogue: “Dr. Brinkley is not going”

We’re pretty sure we invented this line (“Doctor Brinkley is not going to say please anymore!”) but it really does sound like him.View Full Footnote

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We're pretty sure we invented this line ("Doctor Brinkley is not going to say please anymore!") but it really does sound like him.
15700:28:19Image:Archival of Brinkley and plane

Timecode: 00:28:19

Image: Archival of Brinkley and plane

These archival images are not of Brinkley running for governor; they are from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley’s fishing exploits titled “Making A World’s Record.”View Full Footnote

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These archival images are not of Brinkley running for governor; they are from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley's fishing exploits titled "Making A World's Record."
15800:28:22Dialogue:“He bought a plane from Charles Lindbergh”

Timecode: 00:28:22

Dialogue: “He bought a plane from Charles Lindbergh”

We found two references to the fact that Brinkley’s bought a plane from Charles Lindbergh, but one source calls it “The Romancer” (Reardon) and one called it “The Romance” (Lee). However, both cite Wood, and obviously Wood is not the most reliable source. In other words: maybe this is true and maybe it isn’t, but …View Full Footnote

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We found two references to the fact that Brinkley's bought a plane from Charles Lindbergh, but one source calls it "The Romancer" (Reardon) and one called it "The Romance" (Lee). However, both cite Wood, and obviously Wood is not the most reliable source. In other words: maybe this is true and maybe it isn't, but Brinkley was rich enough to buy a plane from Lindbergh, so... sure, why not? We can't find anything about a plane named "The Romance" or "The Romancer" owned by Lindbergh, and have now spent way too long on this pretty trivial note.
15900:28:27Dialogue:“Put on shows featuring the stars of KFKB”

Timecode: 00:28:27

Dialogue: “Put on shows featuring the stars of KFKB”

True. Also there is an omission here: although the FRC had revoked KFKB’s broadcasting license, Brinkley appealed to the U.S. Appeals Court and was given a temporary stay. He used KFKB to great advantage during this campaign.View Full Footnote

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True. Also there is an omission here: although the FRC had revoked KFKB's broadcasting license, Brinkley appealed to the U.S. Appeals Court and was given a temporary stay. He used KFKB to great advantage during this campaign.
16000:28:33Dialogue:“Only 4%”

Timecode: 00:28:33

Dialogue: “Only 4%”

We don’t think Brinkley said anything like this; we thought his talking about “income inequality” would make contemporary audiences feel he was ahead of his time. We also made up the 4% statistic. This sentiment and the “every man a king” slogan we borrowed from Huey Long. Generally, in this scene we are trying to …View Full Footnote

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We don't think Brinkley said anything like this; we thought his talking about "income inequality" would make contemporary audiences feel he was ahead of his time. We also made up the 4% statistic. This sentiment and the "every man a king" slogan we borrowed from Huey Long. Generally, in this scene we are trying to demonstrate how Brinkley drew on populist themes in his campaigning. Brinkley loved to cast himself as a representative of the common man, but his opinion of the New Deal and everything it stood for... varied, depending on who he was talking to. His populism was calculated and strategic, not a bedrock principle.
16100:28:53Image:Sound truck
,

Timecode: 00:28:53

Image: Sound truck

The sound truck was actually used in Brinkley’s 1932 campaign (not in 1930), and it is documented that Huey Long was using sound trucks, to great advantage, as early as 1930. So no: Brinkley didn’t invent the sound truck. But he may have invented the idea that the sound truck would play pre-recorded speeches and …View Full Footnote The sound truck was actually used in Brinkley's 1932 campaign (not in 1930), and it is documented that Huey Long was using sound trucks, to great advantage, as early as 1930. So no: Brinkley didn't invent the sound truck. But he may have invented the idea that the sound truck would play pre-recorded speeches and not just warm-up music. We spent a long, long time on this note before deciding to move on. The point is, he either invented it, or he was a very early adopter/pioneer.
16200:29:05Dialogue:“The motto of our fair state”

Timecode: 00:29:05

Dialogue: “The motto of our fair state”

Brinkley never said this, as far as we know, but we like to imagine he might have. The Kansas state motto is so great! Incidentally, something pretty cool we’re leaving out that he did say is when he compared his suffering to that of Jesus. By now we hope it’s obvious why we left that …View Full Footnote

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Brinkley never said this, as far as we know, but we like to imagine he might have. The Kansas state motto is so great! Incidentally, something pretty cool we're leaving out that he did say is when he compared his suffering to that of Jesus. By now we hope it's obvious why we left that out.
16300:29:21Image:Archival Brinkley with crowd

Timecode: 00:29:21

Image: Archival Brinkley with crowd

These archival images are not of Brinkley running for governor; they are from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley’s fishing exploits titled “Making A World’s Record.”View Full Footnote

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These archival images are not of Brinkley running for governor; they are from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley's fishing exploits titled "Making A World's Record."
16400:29:26Dialogue:“Brinkley was going to win”

Timecode: 00:29:26

Dialogue: “Brinkley was going to win”

It really did appear to many that he was going to win! Some sources say that his campaign brought out the most voters in Kansas history.View Full Footnote

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It really did appear to many that he was going to win! Some sources say that his campaign brought out the most voters in Kansas history.
16500:29:30Image:Government building

Timecode: 00:29:30

Image: Government building

Back to the “enemies conspiring” imagery: same cliché, same rationale as earlier (see note 137). Attorney General Smith is a real person. But he didn’t have an eyepatch; he didn’t look anything like this.View Full Footnote

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Back to the "enemies conspiring" imagery: same cliché, same rationale as earlier (see note 137). Attorney General Smith is a real person. But he didn't have an eyepatch; he didn't look anything like this.
16600:29:53Dialogue:“Spell his name”

Timecode: 00:29:53

Dialogue: “Spell his name”

Smith really did issue this ruling about the spelling issue on November 1 (three days before the election).View Full Footnote

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Smith really did issue this ruling about the spelling issue on November 1 (three days before the election).
16700:30:06Image:Fishbein

Timecode: 00:30:06

Image: Fishbein

Again, no reason why Fishbein would be there: same cliché, same rationale as earlier (see note 137).View Full Footnote

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Again, no reason why Fishbein would be there: same cliché, same rationale as earlier (see note 137).
16800:30:33Image:Archival of Brinkley and man

Timecode: 00:30:33

Image: Archival of Brinkley and man

These archival images are not of Brinkley running for governor; they are from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley’s fishing exploits titled “Making A World’s Record.”View Full Footnote

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These archival images are not of Brinkley running for governor; they are from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley's fishing exploits titled "Making A World's Record."
16900:30:41Dialogue:“Was not correct”

Timecode: 00:30:41

Dialogue: “Was not correct”

We never looked this up ourselves, but we trust that Reardon did. He researched this episode extensively.View Full Footnote

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We never looked this up ourselves, but we trust that Reardon did. He researched this episode extensively.
17000:30:51Dialogue:“Say it with me”

Timecode: 00:30:51

Dialogue: “Say it with me”

True. Brinkley really did lead crowds in spelling out his name correctly. He even handed out pencils imprinted with the correct spelling.View Full Footnote

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True. Brinkley really did lead crowds in spelling out his name correctly. He even handed out pencils imprinted with the correct spelling.
17100:31:06Image:Headline, “Brinkley Wins”

Timecode: 00:31:06

Image: Headline, “Brinkley Wins”

We made this headline in Photoshop and it does not accurately convey that day’s headlines. In reality, newspapers were running headlines like “Early Returns Race as Close” (Jefferson City Post-Tribune) and “Reports Indicate Close Race” (The Perry Journal).View Full Footnote

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We made this headline in Photoshop and it does not accurately convey that day's headlines. In reality, newspapers were running headlines like "Early Returns Race as Close" (Jefferson City Post-Tribune) and "Reports Indicate Close Race" (The Perry Journal).
17200:31:30Image:Drawing of newspaper headline

Timecode: 00:31:30

Image: Drawing of newspaper headline

This headline is, like the previous one, fabricated; the papers didn’t announce Brinkley had won, just that the race was still too close to call. We borrowed the idea of the newspapers announcing the wrong winner from the infamous “Dewey Defeats Truman” episode.View Full Footnote

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This headline is, like the previous one, fabricated; the papers didn't announce Brinkley had won, just that the race was still too close to call. We borrowed the idea of the newspapers announcing the wrong winner from the infamous "Dewey Defeats Truman" episode.
17300:31:19Dialogue:“Vote count would go on for 12 days”

Timecode: 00:31:19

Dialogue: “Vote count would go on for 12 days”

True: the polls closed November 4, and the election was decided November 16.View Full Footnote

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True: the polls closed November 4, and the election was decided November 16.
17400:31:50Image:Archival of vote counting

Timecode: 00:31:50

Image: Archival of vote counting

Images taken from “Behind the Freedom Curtain” (1957). Stock footage used out of context.View Full Footnote

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Images taken from "Behind the Freedom Curtain" (1957). Stock footage used out of context.
17500:31:34Dialogue:“People wrote in Brinkey’s name for everything: the Supreme Court…”

Timecode: 00:31:34

Dialogue: “People wrote in Brinkey’s name for everything: the Supreme Court…”

The Kansas City Times reported that he received votes for both Senate seats, Supreme Court justice, for Congress, and for other county positions, and that Brinkley got more than 20,000 votes in Oklahoma.View Full Footnote

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The Kansas City Times reported that he received votes for both Senate seats, Supreme Court justice, for Congress, and for other county positions, and that Brinkley got more than 20,000 votes in Oklahoma.
17600:31:53Dialogue:“56,000 votes”

Timecode: 00:31:53

Dialogue: “56,000 votes”

“It is unknown how many Brinkley ballots were discarded. It generally is conceded that a plularity of voters inteded to elect Dr. Brinkley . . . Brinkley estimated that he got some 239,000 votes; that about 56,000 had been thrown out. Reporter W.G. Clugston estimated the figure at between 25,000 and 50,000 votes” (Reardon 25-6).View Full Footnote

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"It is unknown how many Brinkley ballots were discarded. It generally is conceded that a plularity of voters inteded to elect Dr. Brinkley . . . Brinkley estimated that he got some 239,000 votes; that about 56,000 had been thrown out. Reporter W.G. Clugston estimated the figure at between 25,000 and 50,000 votes" (Reardon 25-6).
17700:32:02Image:Vote tally

Timecode: 00:32:02

Image: Vote tally

Woodring received 217,171 votes, to Haucke’s 216,920, and Brinkley’s 183,278.View Full Footnote

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Woodring received 217,171 votes, to Haucke's 216,920, and Brinkley's 183,278.
17800:32:07Dialogue:“Was promoted”

Timecode: 00:32:07

Dialogue: “Was promoted”

Interesting story: Smith really did leave his post as Attorney General to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kansas a few months after this incident. However, we don’t know if his “promotion” had anything to do with the story we’re telling. Probably not? Maybe? We don’t know, so we feel this is …View Full Footnote Interesting story: Smith really did leave his post as Attorney General to serve as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kansas a few months after this incident. However, we don't know if his "promotion" had anything to do with the story we're telling. Probably not? Maybe? We don't know, so we feel this is a fairly manipulative insinuation.
17900:32:16Image:Headline, “Election stolen”

Timecode: 00:32:16

Image: Headline, “Election stolen”

“Had Kansas voters really elected Dr. Brinkley in 1920? Harry Woodring, the man sworn in as governor, some 18 years later told researcher Francis W. Schruben: ‘If you would ask my honest opinion, I would say, yes. . . ‘” (Reardon 26). However, in our opinion, Reardon may be overtstating the certainty of the issue; …View Full Footnote

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"Had Kansas voters really elected Dr. Brinkley in 1920? Harry Woodring, the man sworn in as governor, some 18 years later told researcher Francis W. Schruben: 'If you would ask my honest opinion, I would say, yes. . . '" (Reardon 26). However, in our opinion, Reardon may be overtstating the certainty of the issue; Shruben himself wrote that this question has been debated "for six decades" and is far from settled (236).
18000:32:32Dialogue:“The next move”

Timecode: 00:32:32

Dialogue: “The next move”

“The next move” Reardon is referring to is the move to Texas/Mexico, but we’re about to take an anachronistic detour on a fishing trip…View Full Footnote

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"The next move" Reardon is referring to is the move to Texas/Mexico, but we're about to take an anachronistic detour on a fishing trip...
18100:32:34Image:Archival of fishing trip

Timecode: 00:32:34

Image: Archival of fishing trip

This bizarre 1934 film is a professionally filmed record of a three-month journey aboard the Brinkleys’ yacht (named the “Doctor Brinkley,” of course). It is seventy-five minuts long and culminates with Dr. Brinkley’s 788-pound tuna catch, which broke the Western Hemisphere record held by Zane Grey. The film also includes a visit to Brinkley’s birthplace …View Full Footnote

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This bizarre 1934 film is a professionally filmed record of a three-month journey aboard the Brinkleys' yacht (named the "Doctor Brinkley," of course). It is seventy-five minuts long and culminates with Dr. Brinkley's 788-pound tuna catch, which broke the Western Hemisphere record held by Zane Grey. The film also includes a visit to Brinkley's birthplace in Beta, NC. We loved this film so very much, in part because it contains a reference to the idea of the "fish story," or "big fish story" – a colloquial term for an outlandish and far-fetched story full of lies... or a story that's just too good to be true.
18200:35:02Dialogue:“Somehow the idea came along”
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Timecode: 00:35:02

Dialogue: “Somehow the idea came along”

There was already one “border blaster” station (XED, which began broadcasting on November 9, 1930, with a regular schedule from 6:00 PM to midnight) when Brinkley “somehow” got the idea. Brinkley announced he would open his own in January 1931. We’re leaving that out because we’re continuing to feed the implication that he alone invented …View Full Footnote

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There was already one "border blaster" station (XED, which began broadcasting on November 9, 1930, with a regular schedule from 6:00 PM to midnight) when Brinkley "somehow" got the idea. Brinkley announced he would open his own in January 1931. We're leaving that out because we're continuing to feed the implication that he alone invented all these wonderful ideas.
18300:35:20Image:Visa

Timecode: 00:35:20

Image: Visa

This is a reproduction of his real visa. But here’s an interesting omission: The citizenry of Milford were none too pleased with Brinkley’s decampment. It didn’t help that he took nearly all his employees with him, along with “every stick of furniture, all the equipment, every chandelier and sconce Brinkley had been able to rip …View Full Footnote

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This is a reproduction of his real visa. But here's an interesting omission: The citizenry of Milford were none too pleased with Brinkley's decampment. It didn't help that he took nearly all his employees with him, along with "every stick of furniture, all the equipment, every chandelier and sconce Brinkley had been able to rip out before bringing in the wrecking ball. The only thing he left behind was a massive pile of debris" (Brock, 193). "Enraged citizens, whom the local newspaper described as 'almost thunderstruck' over this development, chiseled Brinkley's name out of the cornerstone of his building and painted his huge campaign billboard at the edge of town yellow. Their feelings were further inflamed when John later bulldozed his buildings for tax purposes . . . His departure would leave Milford 'hardly more than a memory'" (Lee, 168). (Also see note 207 on related chronological distortions around Brinkley's move to Texas/Mexico.)
18400:35:34Image:Archival of Brinkleys with plane

Timecode: 00:35:34

Image: Archival of Brinkleys with plane

These “home movies” were produced sometime in the late 1930s; we don’t have an exact date.View Full Footnote

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These "home movies" were produced sometime in the late 1930s; we don't have an exact date.
18500:35:56Text:“Sunshine Station”

Timecode: 00:35:56

Text: “Sunshine Station”

“The Sunshine Station Between The Nations” was a reworking of his earlier KFKB slogan, “The Sunshine Station in the Heart of the Nation” (see note 67).View Full Footnote

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"The Sunshine Station Between The Nations" was a reworking of his earlier KFKB slogan, "The Sunshine Station in the Heart of the Nation" (see note 67).
18600:36:01Dialogue:“We’re not in Kansas”

Timecode: 00:36:01

Dialogue: “We’re not in Kansas”

“I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore” is of course from “The Wizard of Oz” (1939).View Full Footnote

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"I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore" is of course from "The Wizard of Oz" (1939).
18700:36:01Image:Archival film of plane, colorized

Timecode: 00:36:01

Image: Archival film of plane, colorized

We have previously been desaturating the archival films from this period to make them look “older”; now we will leave them in color to pick up the “Oz” theme for the middle section of the film.View Full Footnote

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We have previously been desaturating the archival films from this period to make them look "older"; now we will leave them in color to pick up the "Oz" theme for the middle section of the film.
18800:36:07Dialogue:“5,000 watts”

Timecode: 00:36:07

Dialogue: “5,000 watts”

True (also see note 65 for details on KFKB power).View Full Footnote

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True (also see note 65 for details on KFKB power).
18900:36:12Dialogue:“His new station XERA”

Timecode: 00:36:12

Dialogue: “His new station XERA”

Not sure where we got the number 17 from; most sources indicate that the signal reached 15 or “at least 15” countries outside of the U.S. We were pretty close, though! Also, the station began broadcasting in October 1931 was called XER (not XERA). XER was closed by Mexican authorities in February 1934 and then …View Full Footnote

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Not sure where we got the number 17 from; most sources indicate that the signal reached 15 or "at least 15" countries outside of the U.S. We were pretty close, though! Also, the station began broadcasting in October 1931 was called XER (not XERA). XER was closed by Mexican authorities in February 1934 and then re-opened as XERA late in 1935. For a time, Brinkley also had another radio station in Mexico called XEPN which he renamed XEAW. But to keep things simple, we are sticking with XERA.
19000:36:18Dialogue:“One million watts”

Timecode: 00:36:18

Dialogue: “One million watts”

Another compression of time. XER’s signal was initially 50,000, 75,000 or 100,000 watts in 1931, depending on the source. In 1932, Mexico authorized an increase to 500,000 watts, but then Mexico shut the station down altogether. It wasn’t until it reopened as XERA that the station boasted a new 500,000-watt transmitter and an innovative antenna …View Full Footnote

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Another compression of time. XER's signal was initially 50,000, 75,000 or 100,000 watts in 1931, depending on the source. In 1932, Mexico authorized an increase to 500,000 watts, but then Mexico shut the station down altogether. It wasn't until it reopened as XERA that the station boasted a new 500,000-watt transmitter and an innovative antenna system that Brinkley claimed gave it the "effective transmitting power" of one megawatt, or one million watts. XERA's advertising emphasized the claim that XERA was "the world's most powerful broadcasting station," and probably it was, but it's also hard to verify. We found at least one 1931 news clipping reporting that XER was "75,000 watts, or about 25,000 watts more than the most powerful station in the US." In 1932, we found news clippings stating that XER began at 50,000 and gradually increased to 80,000, and that Brinkley intended to increase further to 150,000, "8,000 watts less than the world's largest at Warsaw, Poland."
19100:36:22Image:Station and tower going up

Timecode: 00:36:22

Image: Station and tower going up

While this drawing of station XERA is a tracing and thus pretty accurate, the size of this tower is obviously a massive exaggeration.View Full Footnote

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While this drawing of station XERA is a tracing and thus pretty accurate, the size of this tower is obviously a massive exaggeration.
19200:36:31Image:“Largest Radio Transmitter”

Timecode: 00:36:31

Image: “Largest Radio Transmitter”

This archival film isn’t referring to XERA. Rather, it’s a newsreel from the 1950s about a Naval radio station in the Cascade Mountains of Washington.View Full Footnote

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This archival film isn't referring to XERA. Rather, it's a newsreel from the 1950s about a Naval radio station in the Cascade Mountains of Washington.
19300:36:35Image:Radio towers and station

Timecode: 00:36:35

Image: Radio towers and station

This archival film also isn’t referring to XERA. Rather, it’s an educational film from 1934 showing how radio works.View Full Footnote

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This archival film also isn't referring to XERA. Rather, it's an educational film from 1934 showing how radio works.
19400:36:48Dialogue:“They would fall out of the sky dead”

Timecode: 00:36:48

Dialogue: “They would fall out of the sky dead”

Note that Fowler says, “people said.” The idea that birds would fall out of the sky when encoutering XERA’s antennae isjust one of these things that isn’t verifiable. We suppose we could have asked some kind of radio expert whether this is feasible, but since we’re in Oz now, we’re just going with it.View Full Footnote

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Note that Fowler says, "people said." The idea that birds would fall out of the sky when encoutering XERA's antennae isjust one of these things that isn't verifiable. We suppose we could have asked some kind of radio expert whether this is feasible, but since we're in Oz now, we're just going with it.
19500:36:55Dialogue:“On fillings in their teeth”

Timecode: 00:36:55

Dialogue: “On fillings in their teeth”

Another thing “people said.”View Full Footnote

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Another thing "people said."
19600:37:01Dialogue:“June Carter Cash liked to say”

Timecode: 00:37:01

Dialogue: “June Carter Cash liked to say”

Another thing “people said.”View Full Footnote

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Another thing "people said."
19700:37:09Soundtrack:Carter Family

Timecode: 00:37:09

Soundtrack: Carter Family

The Carter Family were in fact one of the “in house bands” at XERA from 1937 to 1939. “Their three year stint on XERA would turn the Carter Family from regional stars into national icons, ‘the inventors of commercial country music,’ ‘the big bang of country music,’ the first act elected to the Country Music …View Full Footnote

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The Carter Family were in fact one of the "in house bands" at XERA from 1937 to 1939. "Their three year stint on XERA would turn the Carter Family from regional stars into national icons, 'the inventors of commercial country music,' 'the big bang of country music,' the first act elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame."
19800:37:25Dialogue:“Lengthy commercials”
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Timecode: 00:37:25

Dialogue: “Lengthy commercials”

I don’t know that Brinkley really invented this format, an early version of both infomercials and simple corporate sponsorship, but he was certainly an early adopter/pioneer. Previous to his Border Radio days, he only ran ads for his own hospitals, but during this period realized that companies would pay a lot (he apparently charged $1700 …View Full Footnote I don't know that Brinkley really invented this format, an early version of both infomercials and simple corporate sponsorship, but he was certainly an early adopter/pioneer. Previous to his Border Radio days, he only ran ads for his own hospitals, but during this period realized that companies would pay a lot (he apparently charged $1700 an hour) to advertise products on his powerful station that U.S. stations wouldn't advertise.
19900:37:32Image:Advertisement for happiness

Timecode: 00:37:32

Image: Advertisement for happiness

This ad is for a line of products by a charlatan named Rose Dawn who looked a lot like Mae West. “Border performers were rated by how much mail they could ‘pull.’ Rose Dawn, Brinkley’s personal astrologer, became ‘one of the most successful mail pullers in border radio history.’ Rose would read listeners’ horoscopes, pray …View Full Footnote

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This ad is for a line of products by a charlatan named Rose Dawn who looked a lot like Mae West. "Border performers were rated by how much mail they could 'pull.' Rose Dawn, Brinkley's personal astrologer, became 'one of the most successful mail pullers in border radio history.' Rose would read listeners' horoscopes, pray for a radio fan, or give lovelorn advice for $1 per service – with no discounted rates for a combination thereof. Rose also offered a book that would make a personality 'blossom like a flower' or vials of perfume that would affect one's own and other people's behavior in an extraordinary manner, for $1 each. Some wags began referring to [Del Rio] as Dollar Rio. Rose was married to Koran, a missionary for an occult society called the Mayan Order, and the couple was 'an ethereal sight on the streets of Del Rio as the glided past gawking onlookers in their pink Chrysler trimmed in green with orchid wheels" (Lee, 161).
20000:37:36Dialogue:“Astrology lessons”

Timecode: 00:37:36

Dialogue: “Astrology lessons”

Fowler is giving examples throughout this sequence of the kinds of things that Brinkley and other “Border Radio” pioneers might have sold on their stations. These products may not be exactly the products that XERA was offering up. Also, unless otherwise indicated, the snippets of radio ads you hear in this sequence are scripted reenactments, …View Full Footnote

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Fowler is giving examples throughout this sequence of the kinds of things that Brinkley and other "Border Radio" pioneers might have sold on their stations. These products may not be exactly the products that XERA was offering up. Also, unless otherwise indicated, the snippets of radio ads you hear in this sequence are scripted reenactments, not real archival broadcasts.
20100:38:04Dialogue:“Kolor-Bak is a solution”

Timecode: 00:38:04

Dialogue: “Kolor-Bak is a solution”

The Kolor-Bak radio ad is from a real XERA broadcast, c. 1937-9; the voice is one of the members of the Pickard Family. The image is also from a real Kolor-Bak ad we found online.View Full Footnote

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The Kolor-Bak radio ad is from a real XERA broadcast, c. 1937-9; the voice is one of the members of the Pickard Family. The image is also from a real Kolor-Bak ad we found online.
20200:38:10Dialogue:“Kolor-Bak actually had some kind of lead”

Timecode: 00:38:10

Dialogue: “Kolor-Bak actually had some kind of lead”

In 1922, the American Medical Association analyzed KolorBak and found it to be made primarily of lead (with some sulphur, salt and alcohol), warning that the product could cause lead poisoning.View Full Footnote

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In 1922, the American Medical Association analyzed KolorBak and found it to be made primarily of lead (with some sulphur, salt and alcohol), warning that the product could cause lead poisoning.
20300:38:14Image:Kolor-Bak ad detail

Timecode: 00:38:14

Image: Kolor-Bak ad detail

The Kolor-Bak radio ad is from a real XERA broadcast, c. 1937-9; the voice is one of the members of the Pickard Family. The image is also from a real Kolor-Bak ad we found online.View Full Footnote

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The Kolor-Bak radio ad is from a real XERA broadcast, c. 1937-9; the voice is one of the members of the Pickard Family. The image is also from a real Kolor-Bak ad we found online.
20400:38:14Soundtrack:Yelling

Timecode: 00:38:14

Soundtrack: Yelling

This yell is called a “Wilhelm Scream.” Dating from 1951, and originally slated as “man getting bit by an alligator, and he screamed,” the Wilhelm Scream was in Warner Brothers’ stock sound library for many years and has been featured in over 300 films since. It is famous!View Full Footnote

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This yell is called a "Wilhelm Scream." Dating from 1951, and originally slated as "man getting bit by an alligator, and he screamed," the Wilhelm Scream was in Warner Brothers' stock sound library for many years and has been featured in over 300 films since. It is famous!
20500:38:18Image:Photo of estate

Timecode: 00:38:18

Image: Photo of estate

We think Brinkley brought that iron gate with him from his previous home in Milford. It certainly looks identical.View Full Footnote

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We think Brinkley brought that iron gate with him from his previous home in Milford. It certainly looks identical.
20600:38:28Image:Map of Texas

Timecode: 00:38:28

Image: Map of Texas

This map was in at least one edition of Brinkley’s Doctor Book – one of his tried and true methods of junk mail advertising – and shows his customers and fans in the American Midwest how to get to Del Rio from his previous location in Milford.View Full Footnote

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This map was in at least one edition of Brinkley's Doctor Book – one of his tried and true methods of junk mail advertising – and shows his customers and fans in the American Midwest how to get to Del Rio from his previous location in Milford.
20700:38:38Image:Newspaper clipping, “Remote Control”

Timecode: 00:38:38

Image: Newspaper clipping, “Remote Control”

This is another example of compressing time: Brinkley maintained a home in Milford for quite some time after he built XER. (If you look at the photo caption here, it references Kansas.) He also kept the Brinkley Hospital in Milford open, letting other people run the operations and surgery, while he built things up down …View Full Footnote


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This is another example of compressing time: Brinkley maintained a home in Milford for quite some time after he built XER. (If you look at the photo caption here, it references Kansas.) He also kept the Brinkley Hospital in Milford open, letting other people run the operations and surgery, while he built things up down south. It wasn't until late in 1933 that he finally left Milford for good, bringing over 30 employees with him, setting up the new Brinkley Hospital at the Roswell Hotel and buying this massive estate in Del Rio. This "remote control" setup, which was just a fancy phone line, actually allowed him to broadcast from Kansas to Mexico! (Also see note 183 on how the citizens of Milford felt about Brinkley's abandonment of their town!)
20800:38:48Image:Gate

Timecode: 00:38:48

Image: Gate

This image is from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley’s fishing exploits titled “Making A World’s Record.” So, actually it’s just about chronologically correct in this usage!View Full Footnote

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This image is from a film made in 1934 about Brinkley's fishing exploits titled "Making A World's Record." So, actually it's just about chronologically correct in this usage!
20900:38:50Dialogue:“Thank you, Don”

Timecode: 00:38:50

Dialogue: “Thank you, Don”

This radio broadcast was actually phoned in by “remote control” from Brinkley’s yacht.View Full Footnote

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This radio broadcast was actually phoned in by "remote control" from Brinkley's yacht.
21000:39:13Image:Fancy Brinkleys

Timecode: 00:39:13

Image: Fancy Brinkleys

Note the life-size portrait of Brinkley in naval uniform. For some reason he was named an Admiral in the “Kansas Navy,” and on his yacht he often wore a uniform befitting that honor. The cap and the sleeves of the jacket bear the Kansas State seal!View Full Footnote

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Note the life-size portrait of Brinkley in naval uniform. For some reason he was named an Admiral in the "Kansas Navy," and on his yacht he often wore a uniform befitting that honor. The cap and the sleeves of the jacket bear the Kansas State seal!
21100:39:24Image:Fancy Brinkleys

Timecode: 00:39:24

Image: Fancy Brinkleys

Look closely and you’ll see that Minnie’s eyes have been scribbled out in blue pen. Weird. We looked into the book Brinkley is reading; it’s Behind the Ballots, a 1938 memoir written by James Farley, an influential New Deal politician. I’m not sure why he’s posing with it, as Brinkley was vehemently opposed to almost …View Full Footnote

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Look closely and you'll see that Minnie's eyes have been scribbled out in blue pen. Weird. We looked into the book Brinkley is reading; it's Behind the Ballots, a 1938 memoir written by James Farley, an influential New Deal politician. I'm not sure why he's posing with it, as Brinkley was vehemently opposed to almost everything the New Deal stood for. He liked to pay lip service to the idea of government helping the poor, at least when he was running for governor during the Depression. But Brinkley's real beliefs, stated over and over, were of the "men need to pull themselves up" variety. However, Farley was born very poor around the same time as Brinkley, and by the 1930s he had risen to earn the title of "political kingmaker"; perhaps Brinkley simply appreciated the enormous power Farley had gained. Anyway, none of this is important.
21299:39:45Dialogue:“Radio commission”

Timecode: 99:39:45

Dialogue: “Radio commission”

The Federal Radio Commission had its hands full during this time dealing with Brinkley and his legions of border radio imitators. They received hundreds of letters of complaint about XERA and its ilk. They wouldn’t have needed a complaint from Fishbein specifically to take action, although some sources suggest that it was once again the …View Full Footnote The Federal Radio Commission had its hands full during this time dealing with Brinkley and his legions of border radio imitators. They received hundreds of letters of complaint about XERA and its ilk. They wouldn't have needed a complaint from Fishbein specifically to take action, although some sources suggest that it was once again the relentless pestering of Fishbein that forced the FRC to take action. Brock for example said of this period: "All the while, Morris Fishbein was watching, metaphorically at least, through binoculars" (166). Mainly though we wrote this scene because in earlier versions of the film, audiences had forgotten who Fishbein was when he re-enters the story for real in the third act. Oh also we made up the name Doris.
21300:39:54Image:Congressional bill

Timecode: 00:39:54

Image: Congressional bill

This is indeed the text of a Congressional bill.View Full Footnote

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This is indeed the text of a Congressional bill.
21400:40:00Dialogue:“Pressured Congress”

Timecode: 00:40:00

Dialogue: “Pressured Congress”

We don’t know that this bill was passed because the FRC “pressured Congress.” Certainly the FRC was involved; but most likely, it was a confluence of events and incentives.View Full Footnote

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We don't know that this bill was passed because the FRC "pressured Congress." Certainly the FRC was involved; but most likely, it was a confluence of events and incentives.
21500:40:17Image:Congressional bill

Timecode: 00:40:17

Image: Congressional bill

True: Section 325(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 was written into law in an attempt to halt live broadcasting via telephone lines from radio studios in the United States linked to “border blaster” transmitters on the Mexican side of the border. This amendment is colloquially referred to as the “Brinkley Act.”View Full Footnote

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True: Section 325(b) of the Communications Act of 1934 was written into law in an attempt to halt live broadcasting via telephone lines from radio studios in the United States linked to "border blaster" transmitters on the Mexican side of the border. This amendment is colloquially referred to as the "Brinkley Act."
21600:40:28Dialogue:“Brinkley circumvented”
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Timecode: 00:40:28

Dialogue: “Brinkley circumvented”

Brinkley probably didn’t himself “invent” this method of recording on transcription discs, but he was an early adopter of the technology and was the first to use it to circumvent the new law. So many transcription discs were produced and discarded by XERA that locals supposedly used them as roofing shingles.View Full Footnote

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Brinkley probably didn't himself "invent" this method of recording on transcription discs, but he was an early adopter of the technology and was the first to use it to circumvent the new law. So many transcription discs were produced and discarded by XERA that locals supposedly used them as roofing shingles.
21700:40:52Dialogue:“Soon became an industry standard”

Timecode: 00:40:52

Dialogue: “Soon became an industry standard”

Yup.View Full Footnote

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Yup.
21800:40:59Image:Chapter IV title page

Timecode: 00:40:59

Image: Chapter IV title page

“Into the Fields of Elysium” is a (great) title made up by writer Thom Stylinski; it is not in Clement Wood’s book.View Full Footnote

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"Into the Fields of Elysium" is a (great) title made up by writer Thom Stylinski; it is not in Clement Wood's book.
21900:41:04Image:Chapter IV text

Timecode: 00:41:04

Image: Chapter IV text

This text is not from The Life of A Man.View Full Footnote

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This text is not from The Life of A Man.
22000:41:17Dialogue:“He employed thousands”

Timecode: 00:41:17

Dialogue: “He employed thousands”

“Thousands” seems like a pretty big stretch! We have no idea how many people he employed, nor how “endless” his charitable contributions were. However, all sources indicate that just as in Milford, Brinkley was indeed responsible for bringing some prosperity to the region, and that he engaged in charitable activities.View Full Footnote

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"Thousands" seems like a pretty big stretch! We have no idea how many people he employed, nor how "endless" his charitable contributions were. However, all sources indicate that just as in Milford, Brinkley was indeed responsible for bringing some prosperity to the region, and that he engaged in charitable activities.
22100:41:25Dialogue:“Its first library”

Timecode: 00:41:25

Dialogue: “Its first library”

Actually, he only gave Del Rio “matching funds” to build a library. Close enough.View Full Footnote

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Actually, he only gave Del Rio "matching funds" to build a library. Close enough.
22200:41:28Dialogue:“He had his record breaking tuna”

Timecode: 00:41:28

Dialogue: “He had his record breaking tuna”

True.View Full Footnote

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True.
22300:41:45Dialogue:“Every Sunday evening”

Timecode: 00:41:45

Dialogue: “Every Sunday evening”

We don’t know if it was “every Sunday evening,” but Brinkley in fact owned a giant fountain with interactive colored lights he controlled from a panel inside his house. We have seen the panel, which is still in the Brinkley Mansion, or it was as of 2009 when we visited. He also had a (rare …View Full Footnote

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We don't know if it was "every Sunday evening," but Brinkley in fact owned a giant fountain with interactive colored lights he controlled from a panel inside his house. We have seen the panel, which is still in the Brinkley Mansion, or it was as of 2009 when we visited. He also had a (rare and expensive) player organ inside his house and installed giant speakers so he could play the music outside. Eventually the Brinkleys installed a parking lot across the street from their house for all the cars bringing the onlookers.
22400:42:18Image:Archival film of Romulus and Remus statue

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Image: Archival film of Romulus and Remus statue

This statue is a replica of the iconic “Capitoline Wolf,” depicting future founders of Rome Romulus and Remus suckling at a wolf’s teat. The image was a favorite of Mussolini’s, who liked to cast himself as the founder of “New Rome.” He gave replicas of the Capitoline Wolf to many U.S. cities called “Rome” as …View Full Footnote

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This statue is a replica of the iconic "Capitoline Wolf," depicting future founders of Rome Romulus and Remus suckling at a wolf's teat. The image was a favorite of Mussolini's, who liked to cast himself as the founder of "New Rome." He gave replicas of the Capitoline Wolf to many U.S. cities called "Rome" as a gesture of goodwill c. 1929-1931. We don't know where Brinkley got his copy from, but Brinkley visited Italy in 1925 (where he received a medical degree from the University of Pavia, later rescinded). He was quite enamoured of Italian culture and especially Mussolini himself. Incidentally, the Capitoline Wolf was traditionally thought to be an Etruscan work from the 5th century B.C., with the twins added in the 15th century A.D., but recent scholarship and carbon dating have established pretty certainly that the sculpture is from between the 11th and 12th centuries A.D.
22500:43:37Image:Sound archival film of Brinkley’s lecture

Timecode: 00:43:37

Image: Sound archival film of Brinkley’s lecture

The gist of this filmed lecture (from which of course we’ve only used a tiny excerpt) was to tell patients that they can’t bring their whole families with them when they visit the Brinkley Hospital. He goes on to explain this at great length. It’s very weird.View Full Footnote

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The gist of this filmed lecture (from which of course we've only used a tiny excerpt) was to tell patients that they can't bring their whole families with them when they visit the Brinkley Hospital. He goes on to explain this at great length. It's very weird.
22600:44:55Image:Junk mail

Timecode: 00:44:55

Image: Junk mail

Real circulars from Brinkley’s many ventures. We have not, until now, given you a real sense of just how much junk mail this man produced! Watch the letterheads and slogans change; he changes the name of his hospital, operation, etc. even more often than he changes their locations.View Full Footnote

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Real circulars from Brinkley's many ventures. We have not, until now, given you a real sense of just how much junk mail this man produced! Watch the letterheads and slogans change; he changes the name of his hospital, operation, etc. even more often than he changes their locations.
22700:44:49Dialogue:“Sexual weakness”

Timecode: 00:44:49

Dialogue: “Sexual weakness”

This speech by Brinkley, in which he announces his wonderful new breakthrough, is an amalgamation of many different moments. We’re condensing a lot of things together here for flow and simplification. He stopped offering the goat gland surgery in 1933 (not in 1937 as suggested here), and offered instead “glandular preparations” or “commercial preparations” (whatever …View Full Footnote This speech by Brinkley, in which he announces his wonderful new breakthrough, is an amalgamation of many different moments. We're condensing a lot of things together here for flow and simplification. He stopped offering the goat gland surgery in 1933 (not in 1937 as suggested here), and offered instead "glandular preparations" or "commercial preparations" (whatever that means) instead. But we're making it seem as if these "preparations" were known as Formula 1020, which they weren't; Formula 1020 was a different treatment. Basically, Formula 1020 was colored water given to all post-operative patients and was meant to increase a patient's white blood cell count. Really, it was just one of many quack remedies sold by Brinkley; we only bring up Formula 1020 because it becomes important in the libel trial later. Also, notice that now all of the sudden the goat glands aren't just for impotence? We're finally sharing the information that the goat gland surgery was acually a miracle cure-all good for almost anything that ails you! A good sample of the conditions Brinkley claimed to cure with goat glands can be found in Shadows and Sunshine, John R. Brinkley, published by John R. Brinkley, Milford Kansas, 1923 (or later in the film, at the end of the first day of the libel trial).
22800:45:34Image:Headline: “Brinkley’s Formula 1020”

Timecode: 00:45:34

Image: Headline: “Brinkley’s Formula 1020”

We created this article in Photoshop; we’re certain Formula 1020 was advertised in some similar manner, but we didn’t find anything good to show. Brinkley and his PR team were early adopters of what we’d now call “advertorials,” or paid advertisements designed to look as much like articles as possible.View Full Footnote

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We created this article in Photoshop; we're certain Formula 1020 was advertised in some similar manner, but we didn't find anything good to show. Brinkley and his PR team were early adopters of what we'd now call "advertorials," or paid advertisements designed to look as much like articles as possible.
22900:45:38Image:Map of Arkansas

Timecode: 00:45:38

Image: Map of Arkansas

It’s more likely that Brinkley moved to Arkansas because of competition in Del Rio. And then later, in March of 1938, Brinkley left Del Rio for good.View Full Footnote

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It's more likely that Brinkley moved to Arkansas because of competition in Del Rio. And then later, in March of 1938, Brinkley left Del Rio for good.
23000:45:40Image:Hospital, Little Rock postcard

Timecode: 00:45:40

Image: Hospital, Little Rock postcard

Brinkley called this one “The World’s Most Beautiful Hospital” or the “Country Club Hospital.”View Full Footnote

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Brinkley called this one "The World's Most Beautiful Hospital" or the "Country Club Hospital."
23100:45:42Image:Hospital, Downtown Little Rock

Timecode: 00:45:42

Image: Hospital, Downtown Little Rock

This one was in downtown Little Rock.View Full Footnote

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This one was in downtown Little Rock.
23200:45:45Image:Hospital 3, Mystery one

Timecode: 00:45:45

Image: Hospital 3, Mystery one

We have no idea what this is or where it is. We think it might be a photo of one of many “fake” Brinkley Hospitals that sprung up from time to time, set up by pretenders capitalizing on Brinkley’s fame. But here we’re using it because we didn’t have an image of the hospital in …View Full Footnote

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We have no idea what this is or where it is. We think it might be a photo of one of many "fake" Brinkley Hospitals that sprung up from time to time, set up by pretenders capitalizing on Brinkley's fame. But here we're using it because we didn't have an image of the hospital in San Juan.
23300:45:47Dialogue:“Remember Del Rio”

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Dialogue: “Remember Del Rio”

Yes, this is an actual thing Brinkley said.View Full Footnote

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Yes, this is an actual thing Brinkley said.
23400:45:53Image:Junk mail and ads piling up

Timecode: 00:45:53

Image: Junk mail and ads piling up

Real circulars from Brinkley’s many ventures. We have not, until now, given you a real sense of just how much junk mail this man produced!View Full Footnote

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Real circulars from Brinkley's many ventures. We have not, until now, given you a real sense of just how much junk mail this man produced!
23500:46:00Dialogue:“I shall be the one to bring you true happiness”
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Timecode: 00:46:00

Dialogue: “I shall be the one to bring you true happiness”

What we have Brinkley saying here is really only a slight exaggeration of how he really cast himself (he did, after all, compare himself to Jesus and Moses sort of frequently).View Full Footnote What we have Brinkley saying here is really only a slight exaggeration of how he really cast himself (he did, after all, compare himself to Jesus and Moses sort of frequently).
23600:46:20Image:True Happiness
,

Timecode: 00:46:20

Image: True Happiness

An advertisement from one of his Doctor Books.View Full Footnote

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An advertisement from one of his Doctor Books.
23700:46:31Image:Photos of mansion, etc.

Timecode: 00:46:31

Image: Photos of mansion, etc.

We are now sharing lots of images that we haven’t shared before because we’ve been downplaying the true extent of both his wealth and his narcissism.View Full Footnote

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We are now sharing lots of images that we haven't shared before because we've been downplaying the true extent of both his wealth and his narcissism.
23800:46:37Dialogue:“No more sense than the geese”
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Dialogue: “No more sense than the geese”

“If only they had the wisdom to cooperate with the inspired healer from Milford . . . but the doctors had no more sense than the geese of Rome who could only call out ‘Quack! ‘Quack!,'” is taken directly from The Life of a Man (219).View Full Footnote "If only they had the wisdom to cooperate with the inspired healer from Milford . . . but the doctors had no more sense than the geese of Rome who could only call out 'Quack! 'Quack!,'" is taken directly from The Life of a Man (219).
23900:46:46Image:Brinkleys on boat

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Image: Brinkleys on boat

This photo shows the Brinkleys on one of their own yachts, but we’re using it here to put them on board the cruise ship Normandie.View Full Footnote

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This photo shows the Brinkleys on one of their own yachts, but we're using it here to put them on board the cruise ship Normandie.
24000:46:52Image:Cruise ship

Timecode: 00:46:52

Image: Cruise ship

This is the SS Normandie, considered by some to the greatest ocean liners of all time. The Brinkleys traveled aboard the Normandie in 1937 on their way home to a “grand tour” of Europe.View Full Footnote

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This is the SS Normandie, considered by some to the greatest ocean liners of all time. The Brinkleys traveled aboard the Normandie in 1937 on their way home to a "grand tour" of Europe.
24100:47:11Image:Fishbein

Timecode: 00:47:11

Image: Fishbein

This is a true story, sort of. Fishbein really was aboard the Normandie at the same time as the Brinkleys, who departed Europe for home on August 11, 1937. As far as what actually happened when the two men crossed paths – if they crossed paths at all – there are conflicting accounts. None of the …View Full Footnote

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This is a true story, sort of. Fishbein really was aboard the Normandie at the same time as the Brinkleys, who departed Europe for home on August 11, 1937. As far as what actually happened when the two men crossed paths – if they crossed paths at all – there are conflicting accounts. None of the sources we consulted said Brinkley winked at Fishbein; we made that up. We based our encounter mostly on Brock's version of the story, but we added the wink to make it more visual. Here is how Brock describes it: "There was nothing left now but for the principals to meet. In all these years, the two great foes had never laid eyes on each other, and Fishbein wanted to keep it that way. Brinkley had other ideas. Scouring the deck he found Fishbein in a lounge chair and his face to the sun. Brinkley approached . . . Fishbein pretended he wasn't there. After a minute or so of this queer pantomime, Brinkley made a strangled noise, turned, and stalked off" (215-16). There is also come confusion in the historical record about whether Brinkley snubbed Fishbein, or Fishbein snubbed Brinkley – this "snub" inexplicably became an issue in the libel trial of 1939.
24200:47:50Dialogue:“In John R. Brinkley”

Timecode: 00:47:50

Dialogue: “In John R. Brinkley”

This rant/lecture by Fishbein is composed almost entirely of things he really wrote, primarily in the February 1938 Hygeia article “Modern Medical Charlatans.”View Full Footnote

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This rant/lecture by Fishbein is composed almost entirely of things he really wrote, primarily in the February 1938 Hygeia article "Modern Medical Charlatans."
24300:49:15Image:Chapter V title page

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Image: Chapter V title page

“Unto the Gates of Tartarus” is a (great) title made up by writer Thom Stylinski; it is not in Clement Wood’s book.View Full Footnote

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"Unto the Gates of Tartarus" is a (great) title made up by writer Thom Stylinski; it is not in Clement Wood's book.
24400:49:20Image:Chapter V text

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Image: Chapter V text

This text is not from The Life of A Man.View Full Footnote

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This text is not from The Life of A Man.
24500:49:24Image:Newspaper headline

Timecode: 00:49:24

Image: Newspaper headline

We created this headline in Photoshop. None of the real ones were this clear. But Brinkley indeed sued Fishbein for libel, asserting that he was owed $250,000 in damages. By the way, by 1939 Brinkley had already sued Fishbein, the Kansas City Star, the AMA and many others quite a number of times, which we’ve …View Full Footnote

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We created this headline in Photoshop. None of the real ones were this clear. But Brinkley indeed sued Fishbein for libel, asserting that he was owed $250,000 in damages. By the way, by 1939 Brinkley had already sued Fishbein, the Kansas City Star, the AMA and many others quite a number of times, which we've left out of the film.
24600:49:23Dialogue:“March 22, 1939”

Timecode: 00:49:23

Dialogue: “March 22, 1939”

True. We are pleased to report that some things in this story are actually easy to verify!View Full Footnote

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True. We are pleased to report that some things in this story are actually easy to verify!
24700:49:28Image:Courthouse

Timecode: 00:49:28

Image: Courthouse

This is a photo of the Val Verde Courthouse in Del Rio; we aren’t sure of the date.View Full Footnote

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This is a photo of the Val Verde Courthouse in Del Rio; we aren't sure of the date.
24800:49:31Dialogue:“And it was packed, it was packed out the door”

Timecode: 00:49:31

Dialogue: “And it was packed, it was packed out the door”

“Judge R. J. McMillan’s oblong little court room in the federal building is filled an hour before each day’s trial begins, but that doesn’t mean there is much of a crowd on hand. Its seating capacity is less than 100, and some twenty-five or thirty form a waiting line outside” (Millard Cope, San Angelo Standard-Times …View Full Footnote

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"Judge R. J. McMillan's oblong little court room in the federal building is filled an hour before each day's trial begins, but that doesn't mean there is much of a crowd on hand. Its seating capacity is less than 100, and some twenty-five or thirty form a waiting line outside" (Millard Cope, San Angelo Standard-Times coverage of the trial, quoted in "The Case of Brinkley v. Fishbein", Journal of the American Medical Association, May 13, 1939, Volume 112, No. 19, p. 1952).
24900:49:33Dialogue:“A lot of women”

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Dialogue: “A lot of women”

We have no idea if this is true. Seems legit, though.View Full Footnote

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We have no idea if this is true. Seems legit, though.
25000:49:47Dialogue:“He had at least five lawyers”

Timecode: 00:49:47

Dialogue: “He had at least five lawyers”

In this interview, Brock seems to be incorrect; it was Brinkley with only a couple of lawyers, and Fishbein was the one was all lawyered up. The attorneys for the plaintiff were Messrs. William Morriss Sr. & William Morriss Jr. of San Antonio, and Phil Foster of Del Rio. Fishbein was represented by Messrs Loesch, …View Full Footnote

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In this interview, Brock seems to be incorrect; it was Brinkley with only a couple of lawyers, and Fishbein was the one was all lawyered up. The attorneys for the plaintiff were Messrs. William Morriss Sr. & William Morriss Jr. of San Antonio, and Phil Foster of Del Rio. Fishbein was represented by Messrs Loesch, Scofield, Loesch & Burke of Chicago; Brooks, Napier, Brown & Matthews of San Antonio; and Boggess, LaCrosse & Lowrey of Del Rio, Texas. Brock's version of the story is better, anyway.
25100:50:11Dialogue:“Honorable Judge”

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Dialogue: “Honorable Judge”

True, Robert J. McMillan was the judge.View Full Footnote

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True, Robert J. McMillan was the judge.
25200:50:18Image:Stittsworth

Timecode: 00:50:18

Image: Stittsworth

While it was reported there were “twenty old men” ready to testify for Dr. Brinkley, none of them (as far as we know!) were Stittsworth.View Full Footnote

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While it was reported there were "twenty old men" ready to testify for Dr. Brinkley, none of them (as far as we know!) were Stittsworth.
25300:51:09Dialogue:“The testimony provided by patients”

Timecode: 00:51:09

Dialogue: “The testimony provided by patients”

It is true that the judge decided in this case that patients would not be allowed to testify, though not quite as immediately as we’ve portrayed it: “Judge McMillan took a long night to think it over. Next morning he announced his decision. ‘Gentlemen, I am of the opinion that the specific instances of malpractice couldn’t be …View Full Footnote


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It is true that the judge decided in this case that patients would not be allowed to testify, though not quite as immediately as we've portrayed it: "Judge McMillan took a long night to think it over. Next morning he announced his decision. 'Gentlemen, I am of the opinion that the specific instances of malpractice couldn't be shown, nor could specific instances of good result obtained by [Brinkley] be shown... [If the attempt were made], it would open up an unlimited field of evidence in which, maybe, seventy five or a hundred patients might appear and, for some reason or other, claim they had been benefited, and seventy five or a hundred might appear on the other side and claim they had been mistrated or hadn't been benefited, and the first thing you know the drial would deteriorate from a trial of issues before the court and jury to one of prejudice and passion and feeling... I don't think that kind of evidence is admissable'" (Brock, 239-240).
25400:51:23Dialogue:“Mr. Brown”

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Dialogue: “Mr. Brown”

Clinton Brown was in fact the name of Fishbein’s lawyer. Brown, a former mayor of San Antonio, was considered one of the most capable lawyers in Texas.View Full Footnote

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Clinton Brown was in fact the name of Fishbein's lawyer. Brown, a former mayor of San Antonio, was considered one of the most capable lawyers in Texas.
25500:51:28Dialogue:“Dr. Richard Ross”

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Dialogue: “Dr. Richard Ross”

We made up the name “Richard Ross” and we can’t remember why; the name of the urologist who gave this testimony at the trial was Dr. A. I. Folsom. Other than his name, this exchange is very close to that found directly in the transcript.View Full Footnote

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We made up the name "Richard Ross" and we can't remember why; the name of the urologist who gave this testimony at the trial was Dr. A. I. Folsom. Other than his name, this exchange is very close to that found directly in the transcript.
25600:51:37Dialogue:“Objection!”

Timecode: 00:51:37

Dialogue: “Objection!”

True. Brinkley’s lawyers unsuccessfully argued that the goat gland surgeries were not relevant to this case, wanting (for obvious reasons) to limit testimony to Brinkley’s activities after 1933, when he stopped performing the goat gland surgeries. Judge McMillan ruled that the jury should consider the entirety of Brinkley’s career, including the goat gland surgeries, when …View Full Footnote

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True. Brinkley's lawyers unsuccessfully argued that the goat gland surgeries were not relevant to this case, wanting (for obvious reasons) to limit testimony to Brinkley's activities after 1933, when he stopped performing the goat gland surgeries. Judge McMillan ruled that the jury should consider the entirety of Brinkley's career, including the goat gland surgeries, when deciding whether or not Fishbein libelled him by calling him a quack.
25700:51:56Dialogue:“So… testicles.”

Timecode: 00:51:56

Dialogue: “So… testicles.”

We made up the “so… testicles” bit. As with all reenactments, the dialogue in this scene is drawn heavily from period accounts of the proceedings, including newspaper clippings and the transcript itself. We wove together direct quotes with stuff we made up throughout. Because we’re doing these footnotes many years after the writing of the film …View Full Footnote

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We made up the "so... testicles" bit. As with all reenactments, the dialogue in this scene is drawn heavily from period accounts of the proceedings, including newspaper clippings and the transcript itself. We wove together direct quotes with stuff we made up throughout. Because we're doing these footnotes many years after the writing of the film was completed, it's hard to totally reconstruct what we invented and what was real, but we've done our best forensic accounting in the following notes.
25800:52:18Dialogue:“Well, the doctor makes an incision”

Timecode: 00:52:18

Dialogue: “Well, the doctor makes an incision”

The fact is that Brinkley’s miracle procedure wasn’t just one, static procedure, as we present it in the film; he changed what he was doing (or claimed to be doing) quite a lot over the years. It would take far more than a few footnotes to explain this… Sometimes he sliced up the goat balls …View Full Footnote

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The fact is that Brinkley's miracle procedure wasn't just one, static procedure, as we present it in the film; he changed what he was doing (or claimed to be doing) quite a lot over the years. It would take far more than a few footnotes to explain this... Sometimes he sliced up the goat balls and put a thin layer under the skin; sometimes he put the goat balls in the lower intestine; sometimes he said they were true transplantations (as in, they "lived on" in the human body); sometimes he said he'd never said that, and on and on. He was "experimenting as he went along," to be generous. We suspect that after a while, Brinkley probably just made an incision and sewed it up immediately, having only pretended to put the goat testicle in there. It would have worked just as well. Also, in his advertising he didn't emphasize impotence at all; impotence, which he usually euphemized as "sexual weakness" or "childless homes," was just one of the many diseases and ailments he claimed to be able to cure with the goat glands, ranging from insanity to sluggish temperaments to diabetes to hardening of the arteries. Earlier (see note 54), we simplified this issue to make it not too obvious that he was a quack; now we're simplifying just to keep it simple!
25900:53:20Dialogue:“Xenotransplantation of this sort”

Timecode: 00:53:20

Dialogue: “Xenotransplantation of this sort”

See note 12 on how many other people – real scientists and quacks alike – had attempted “xenotransplantation of this sort.”View Full Footnote

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See note 12 on how many other people – real scientists and quacks alike – had attempted "xenotransplantation of this sort."
26000:53:24Dialogue:“One could simply make a slit”

Timecode: 00:53:24

Dialogue: “One could simply make a slit”

We came to believe that probably this is all Brinkley really did, after a while. If he knew it didn’t work, why would he bother actually putting goat testicles in there? Why not just say he did?View Full Footnote

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We came to believe that probably this is all Brinkley really did, after a while. If he knew it didn't work, why would he bother actually putting goat testicles in there? Why not just say he did?
26100:53:34Dialogue:“Would the mere transplanting of the gland”

Timecode: 00:53:34

Dialogue: “Would the mere transplanting of the gland”

These claims were all actually made by Brinkley.View Full Footnote

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These claims were all actually made by Brinkley.
26200:54:08Dialogue:“Cancer fighting toothpaste”

Timecode: 00:54:08

Dialogue: “Cancer fighting toothpaste”

Brinkley did not sell cancer-fighting toothpaste. However, modern day quack Stanislaw Burzynski owns a patent for cancer-fighting toothpaste. We wanted to give him a little shout-out.View Full Footnote

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Brinkley did not sell cancer-fighting toothpaste. However, modern day quack Stanislaw Burzynski owns a patent for cancer-fighting toothpaste. We wanted to give him a little shout-out.
26300:54:17Dialogue:“Mayan vision improving”

Timecode: 00:54:17

Dialogue: “Mayan vision improving”

This product is made up completely, but the reference to “Mayan” miracle cures is period appropriate (see note 199 for the delightful story of Rose Dawn and her “Mayan Order”).View Full Footnote

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This product is made up completely, but the reference to "Mayan" miracle cures is period appropriate (see note 199 for the delightful story of Rose Dawn and her "Mayan Order").
26400:54:23Dialogue:“Incan vision improving”

Timecode: 00:54:23

Dialogue: “Incan vision improving”

This product is even more made up than the one before it.View Full Footnote

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This product is even more made up than the one before it.
26500:54:36Dialogue:“I see an article”

Timecode: 00:54:36

Dialogue: “I see an article”

The name of the real chemist who testified that Formula 1020 was just colored water was Dr. Eugene W. Schoeffel; we re-cast him (and a few other minor characters throughout the film) as a woman because… well, because we wrote barely any parts in this film for women, and Penny thought it was important to …View Full Footnote

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The name of the real chemist who testified that Formula 1020 was just colored water was Dr. Eugene W. Schoeffel; we re-cast him (and a few other minor characters throughout the film) as a woman because... well, because we wrote barely any parts in this film for women, and Penny thought it was important to do what we could to add a few female voices to the film, so long as doing so didn't seem too historically inaccurate.
26600:54:41Image:Headline: Brinkley’s Formula 1020

Timecode: 00:54:41

Image: Headline: Brinkley’s Formula 1020

We created this article in Photoshop; we’re certain Formula 1020 was advertised in some similar manner, but we didn’t find anything good to show. Brinkley and his PR team were early adopters of what we’d now call “advertorials,” or paid advertisements designed to look as much like articles as possible.View Full Footnote

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We created this article in Photoshop; we're certain Formula 1020 was advertised in some similar manner, but we didn't find anything good to show. Brinkley and his PR team were early adopters of what we'd now call "advertorials," or paid advertisements designed to look as much like articles as possible.
26700:54:53Dialogue:“I am, I have analyzed it”

Timecode: 00:54:53

Dialogue: “I am, I have analyzed it”

True, a chemist testified about his analysis of Formula 1020 at the trial.View Full Footnote

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True, a chemist testified about his analysis of Formula 1020 at the trial.
26800:55:07Dialogue:“The formula replaces the gland”

Timecode: 00:55:07

Dialogue: “The formula replaces the gland”

See note 227 on how we’ve conflated Formula 1020 with the “glandular preparations” he has replaced the goat gland surgery with.View Full Footnote


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See note 227 on how we've conflated Formula 1020 with the "glandular preparations" he has replaced the goat gland surgery with.
26900:55:24Dialogue:“Doctor, what is Formula 1020?”

Timecode: 00:55:24

Dialogue: “Doctor, what is Formula 1020?”

At the trial, chemist Dr. Eugene W. Schoeffel testified that Formula 1020 was in fact just colored water.View Full Footnote

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At the trial, chemist Dr. Eugene W. Schoeffel testified that Formula 1020 was in fact just colored water.
27000:55:35Dialogue:“I paid $600”

Timecode: 00:55:35

Dialogue: “I paid $600”

As far as we know, nobody jumped up and yelled this at the trial.View Full Footnote

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As far as we know, nobody jumped up and yelled this at the trial.
27100:55:56Dialogue:“Have you ever met John R. Brinkley?”

Timecode: 00:55:56

Dialogue: “Have you ever met John R. Brinkley?”

Yes, Fishbein said they’d never met (his real quote is actually better: “In 26 years of investigating charlatans, I have never met one personally”). However, sources differ on whether or not Brinkley and Fishbein had ever met, or whether whatever happened on the Normandie (see note 241) counts as “meeting” one another.View Full Footnote

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Yes, Fishbein said they'd never met (his real quote is actually better: "In 26 years of investigating charlatans, I have never met one personally"). However, sources differ on whether or not Brinkley and Fishbein had ever met, or whether whatever happened on the Normandie (see note 241) counts as "meeting" one another.
27200:56:11Dialogue:“Allow me to say a few words”

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Dialogue: “Allow me to say a few words”

Unsurprisingly, Fishbein’s testimony was considerably less dramatic than it is portrayed here (Brock describes Fishbein on the stand as a model of “serenity and reason”). But we needed to really lay out what a quack is and how he operates during this trial, and it seemed fitting to let Fishbein let loose about it. The …View Full Footnote

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Unsurprisingly, Fishbein's testimony was considerably less dramatic than it is portrayed here (Brock describes Fishbein on the stand as a model of "serenity and reason"). But we needed to really lay out what a quack is and how he operates during this trial, and it seemed fitting to let Fishbein let loose about it. The very last line of this monologue ("he is a tumor on the body of science") was taken directed from his testimony, however.
27300:59:08Image:Radio Station at Night

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Image: Radio Station at Night

Though this particular radio broadcast didn’t occur “that night” as implied here, and thus probably was not directed at Fishbein, Brinkley indeed took to the airwaves each night to say nasty things about Fishbein during the trial. We know this because Fishbein’s lawyers noted it in court, complaining that Brinkley’s nightly rants could be prejudicial …View Full Footnote

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Though this particular radio broadcast didn't occur "that night" as implied here, and thus probably was not directed at Fishbein, Brinkley indeed took to the airwaves each night to say nasty things about Fishbein during the trial. We know this because Fishbein's lawyers noted it in court, complaining that Brinkley's nightly rants could be prejudicial to the jury. This radio broadcast is edited for length, but the thrust of it (the anti-Semitism and Red-baiting, leading up to a pitch for "a dollar") has been preserved accurately.
27401:00:26Image:Chapter VI title page

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Image: Chapter VI title page

“The Soul of a Man Speaks” (which we’ve shortened to “The Soul of a Man”) is Clement Wood’s title for Chapter VIII. The entirety of Chapter VIII is dedicated to a lengthy analysis of a dream Brinkley has one night. It’s the single most amazing chapter in that book (see also note 294).View Full Footnote

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"The Soul of a Man Speaks" (which we've shortened to "The Soul of a Man") is Clement Wood's title for Chapter VIII. The entirety of Chapter VIII is dedicated to a lengthy analysis of a dream Brinkley has one night. It's the single most amazing chapter in that book (see also note 294).
27501:00:31Image:Chapter VI text page

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Image: Chapter VI text page

This text is not from The Life of A Man.View Full Footnote

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This text is not from The Life of A Man.
27601:00:38Image:Courthouse

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Image: Courthouse

This is a photo of the Val Verde Courthouse in Del Rio; we aren’t sure of the date.View Full Footnote

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This is a photo of the Val Verde Courthouse in Del Rio; we aren't sure of the date.
27701:01:13Dialogue:“When you say to the best of your recollection”

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Dialogue: “When you say to the best of your recollection”

This insane back and forth about whether he is “absolutely certain” or “relatively certain” is taken (almost) verbatim from the transcript. Can’t make this stuff up.View Full Footnote

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This insane back and forth about whether he is "absolutely certain" or "relatively certain" is taken (almost) verbatim from the transcript. Can't make this stuff up.
27801:01:41Dialogue:“I made eleven hundred thousand dollars”

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Dialogue: “I made eleven hundred thousand dollars”

Again, we kept this pretty close to the transcript: Q– Now, what was your gross income for the year 1937? A– If I remember correctly, the gross income for 1937 was pretty close to eleven hundred thousand. Q– Doctor, wouldn’t most people refer to that number, that eleven hundred thousand, as one million, one hundred …View Full Footnote

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Again, we kept this pretty close to the transcript: Q– Now, what was your gross income for the year 1937? A– If I remember correctly, the gross income for 1937 was pretty close to eleven hundred thousand. Q– Doctor, wouldn’t most people refer to that number, that eleven hundred thousand, as one million, one hundred thousand dollars? A– I couldn’t say what most people would say. I would say I made about eleven hundred thousand in 1937.
27901:02:22Dialogue:“Do you also put LLD”

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Dialogue: “Do you also put LLD”

Brinkley indeed said, “I don’t remember,” when asked about the LLD degree.View Full Footnote

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Brinkley indeed said, "I don't remember," when asked about the LLD degree.
28001:02:34Image:The Life of a Man

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Image: The Life of a Man

We have finally come full circle: the way that The Life of a Man functioned at this trial was a major source of inspiration for the entire structure of this film. We’ve represented the way the book worked in the trial pretty accurately in this scene, with Brown reading the more absurd portions out loud …View Full Footnote

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We have finally come full circle: the way that The Life of a Man functioned at this trial was a major source of inspiration for the entire structure of this film. We've represented the way the book worked in the trial pretty accurately in this scene, with Brown reading the more absurd portions out loud and forcing Brinkley to respond to them, Brinkley trying to say he doesn't even know what's in it, and eventually admitting he paid for it and published it himself as a sort of promotional item.
28101:02:42Dialogue:“Interesting reading, if you have the stomach”

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Dialogue: “Interesting reading, if you have the stomach”

Brown actually said, “Interesting reading… if you’ve got a strong stomach.”View Full Footnote

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Brown actually said, “Interesting reading... if you’ve got a strong stomach.”
28201:03:23Dialogue:“To a woman named Sally Wike”
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Dialogue: “To a woman named Sally Wike”

Sally came up at the trial, but only in a minor way in trying to get Brinkley’s early life story straight. It’s not true that Sally doesn’t appear in The Life of a Man; it is true that she doesn’t appear in this film. We’ve withheld information about her both because it didn’t seem too …View Full Footnote Sally came up at the trial, but only in a minor way in trying to get Brinkley's early life story straight. It's not true that Sally doesn't appear in The Life of a Man; it is true that she doesn't appear in this film. We've withheld information about her both because it didn't seem too relevant and because keeping it from you until this point only adds to the sense that Brinkley's life story – and thus, this film – has been pretty untrustworthy.
28301:03:50Dialogue:“You were nowhere near Johns Hopkins in 1902”
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Dialogue: “You were nowhere near Johns Hopkins in 1902”

We’re condensing a lot into this section, but it is true that Brinkley’s early life selling snake oil both with and without his first wife Sally was an important part of the evidence presented in this trial.View Full Footnote We're condensing a lot into this section, but it is true that Brinkley's early life selling snake oil both with and without his first wife Sally was an important part of the evidence presented in this trial.
28401:04:03Dialogue:“Diploma from the Eclectic Medical University”
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Dialogue: “Diploma from the Eclectic Medical University”

“On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as ‘vague, obliging and long defunct’) cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states” (Brock, 25).View Full Footnote "On May 7, 1915, the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City presented him with a certificate signed by its president, Dr. Date R. Alexander. To become an alumnus of E.M.U. (later described in court proceedings as 'vague, obliging and long defunct') cost Brinkley one hundred dollars and got him licensed in eight states" (Brock, 25).
28501:04:34Dialogue:“You were incarcerated in Greenville, SC”
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Dialogue: “You were incarcerated in Greenville, SC”

True: Brinkley had been arrested for the colored water scam in Greenville, SC. Not true: it was on the very same day he claimed to be graduating. So: a chronological distortion for effect.View Full Footnote True: Brinkley had been arrested for the colored water scam in Greenville, SC. Not true: it was on the very same day he claimed to be graduating. So: a chronological distortion for effect.
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